AUGUST 21, 2021

“Try Harder – Part 1”

Bob Butcher

MRO Pastor/Chaplain to NASCAR’s ARCA Menards Series West

7085 Battle Creek Road SE, Salem, OR 97317

Email:   Cell: 503-910-9310


It has been said that the last 2,000 years of teaching and preaching on how to successfully live the Christian life and please God , even when we are racing, could actually be encapsulated in a simple two-word exhortation: Try harder.

Do you keep stumbling over the same sin or habit? Try harder.

Are you struggling to love unlovely and obnoxious people, or that other Driver that irritates me to #$@*%#…well; Try harder.

Failing time and again to rise take time for prayer and Bible reading? Try harder. Not giving enough? Not Serving enough? Not sharing your faith? Not attending Bob and Kathy’s MRO church services enough? Try harder.

You know the prescription: Bear down, Double up, sort of like covid  today …Lather, rinse, repeat—in an endless, frustrating, shame-soaked cycle of defeat and failure that robs you of your confidence before God and even other people that keeps you feeling like the only Christian in the world who isn’t properly doing all the things.

None of that sounds very restful, does it?  Yet, rest is precisely what we are called to do in Jesus.  Most particularly, rest from striving and straining to earn God’s approval. The fact is, God sent Jesus so we could become restful human beings, not busy human do’s trying harder.

You see, God paid an enormous price and lavished His grace upon us to restore us—not to good behavior—but to Himself, to reconnect us to the ONLY Source of life and love. When you live and rest in that connection with Christ Jesus, all those other good and noble things overflow out of your life naturally and effortlessly.

Sharing your faith: the peace, joy, and confidence that shines from you when you rest in Him becomes an irresistible beacon to the lost and hurting all around you.

Love: when you are secure in God’s love and acceptance, you become unoffendable, and naturally capable of more patience and grace than you thought possible.

We have all tried the “try harder” approach. It doesn’t work. Grace does.

Here can be yours and my PRAYER OF DECLARATION:

“Heavenly Father, I cease from my futile labors. I no longer strive to earn what I cannot possibly earn, to qualify me for  what I will never deserve. Instead, I rejoice and rest in my connection to You through Your Son Jesus. He is the vine, and I am a connected branch. I declare today that in Jesus, Your love, Your power, Your goodness, and Your empowering grace will all flow through me—producing fruit naturally, and shaping my desires and appetites. Good and noble things overflow out of my life naturally and effortlessly. Peace, joy, and confidence shine from me, making me an irresistible beacon to the lost and hurting. Because I am absolutely secure in Your love and acceptance, I am also unoffendable, patient, and full of grace for others. For me, every day is now a day of Sabbath rest.”

Hebrews 4: 9-10    NLT

So there is a special rest still waiting for the people of God.

10 For all who have entered into God’s rest have rested from their labors,  just as God did after creating the world.

(The entire Hebrews 4 is well worth reading)

So… How and why can I know this is available for me and no more striving?

Aaha, stand by for Part 2 of this in Portland.  Hint, …it’s about the word “Tetelestai.”


  • Holland, David A. Praying Grace: 55 Meditations and Declarations on the Finished Work of Christ (pp. 10-11).
  • Edited and added to by Bob 🏁🏁🏁

***I’m closing now, but for Extra “credit” read:    Isaiah 60: 1-3  / Habakkuk 2:14