Devotions based on John Ortberg’s book, The Me I want to Be

We’ve all been told, Try a little harder!. But there are limits on what trying harder can accomplish.  The ones who got in trouble with Jesus were working hardest on their spiritual life but it got in the way of loving others. We can get so fixated on our own efforts that we can get judgmental. When we try too hard we probably think how nobly we are behaving and pride takes over at our goodness.  Instead we need to surrender our will, look for ways of being with God, and try to be softer.   Like Richard Rohr said, “Faith does not need to push the river because faith is able to trust that there is a river. The river is flowing. We are in it.”   Trying softer means focusing on God’s goodness more than our own efforts. It means being more relaxed, less self-conscious, less pressured. When we try softer we are less defensive, more open. It means asking God for help. Sometimes it takes painful situations in our lives for us to really know that we are not competent in ourselves. We need humility so we don’t become like the Pharisee who thanked God he was not like the tax collector. Let us not try harder but try softer.  There is a river of life all around us but we can’t push it.