We all have relationships. The quality of those relationships may vary a great deal.

I frequently hear people use the term “personal relationship with Jesus Christ.” I like that. We are in a relationship with Jesus Christ. It is a personal relationship. The problem is, most of us don’t do relationships very well. Myself included.

Relationships require effort. Don’t confuse that with the idea of work. Effort take is when we make a determined attempt. Work is when we are trying to determine the outcome. As Christians, the outcome has already been determined. Remember, “It is finished!”

God has provided access to Himself through the relationship with Jesus. That relationship requires effort on our part. We have to make an effort to spend time with Jesus. We have to make an effort to walk with the Spirit. The Spirit is already at work. He is doing the work. We have been invited into that work and we accept that invitation by our effort to seek Him out.

Prayer takes effort.

Listening to the Spirit takes effort. (Make a conscious observation of the amount of noise around you right now). It takes an effort to remove ourselves from that noise so we can hear clearly.

It takes effort to remember God’s work and Christ’s sacrificial work on the cross during communion observance or even through our day.

It takes effort to carve out time in our day to read God’s counsel in Scripture.

It takes effort to be in relationship with Jesus. Yes, “He loves us. O how He loves us…” But He has said obedience is our expression of love (John 14:21). 

It takes effort (a determined attempt). The work (outcome) has already been completed.

We know what the outcome of our effort will yield. (At least if we have made the effort to seek His counsel).

Obedience isn’t “work”. Obedience takes conscious effort.

We have a responsibility in our relationship with Jesus. We aren’t responsible for the outcome, that’s already been arranged. We must simplify and make effort to spend time with Him.

Are you making an effort, or counting on your work?