"Try a little harder next time."

It was a simple message to encourage me, and it worked. It came while I was doing a French lesson on my phone, but I can't stop thinking about it.

"Try a little harder next time."

See, I wasn't really trying at all.

It's like the time in the 9th grade when I got 3 As and 3 Bs on my midterm report card. I was happy with my grades, but my friends had all As. I loved school and always had, but I never gave much thought to my grades before then nor applied myself. 

I wondered if I could get all As, too — if I tried a little harder. 

I don't even remember whether or not I paid more attention in class, took better notes, or studied harder for tests, but I do remember that I went to my Biology teacher and asked him how I could bring my grade up.

I did a science fair project that not only brought my grade up but also excused me from the final exam. And when my Enriched English I teacher told me I'd have to go back to regular 9th grade English if I didn't learn the grammar rules, I went to another student in class who I thought would help me. By the end of the semester, I was tied for #1 in my class with a 4.0 GPA — because I tried a little harder.

Walking in relationship with my Savior

I feel like I need to try a little harder in my walk with the Lord.

Following God's law comes easy to me because I sincerely desire to be pleasing to my Heavenly Father, and I love having an instruction manual that teaches me how to be Holy in His eyes. I can follow God's law to the letter, but I forget to follow in the newness of the Spirit. I forget that God's law is a law of LOVE and is therefore a heart condition.

"Do to others as you would have them do to you, for this sums up the law and the prophets... and this is Matthew 7:12" has been playing in our homeschool — it's one of Bo's memory verses for Sonlight A.

Do I treat others the way I want to be treated? 

"...‘Teacher, which [is] the great command in the Law?’ And Jesus said to him, ‘Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thine understanding — this is a first and great command; and the second [is] like to it, Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself; on these — the two commands — all the law and the prophets do hang.’ Matthew 22:34-40."

Do I keep the two greatest commands?

Mark is also a witness to Jesus' words in chapter 12:28-34 — except he is quoting from the Torah, which is the LAW that I follow, specifically Deuteronomy 6:1-19:

"...‘Which is the first command of all?’ and Jesus answered him — ‘The first of all the commands [is], Hear, O Israel, the Lord is our God, the Lord is one; and thou shalt love the Lord thy God out of all thy heart, and out of thy soul, and out of all thine understanding, and out of all thy strength — this [is] the first command; 1and the second [is] like [it], this, Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself; — greater than these there is no other command.’ And the scribe said to him, ‘Well, Teacher, in truth thou hast spoken that there is one God, and there is none other but He; and to love Him out of all the heart, and out of all the understanding, and out of all the soul, and out of all the strength, and to love one’s neighbor as one’s self, is more than all the whole burnt-offerings and the sacrifices.’ And Jesus, having seen him that he answered with understanding, said to him, ‘Thou art not far from the reign of God;’ and no one any more durst question him."

Bearing fruit for the Kingdom of God 

This has been on my heart, so I initially thought I would choose "love" for my word this year, but Galatians 5:22-23 came to mind.

"And the fruit of the Spirit is: Love, joy, peace, long-suffering, kindness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance: against such there is no law;" —Young's Literal Translation

There is no law against these things because these things are the heart of His law, His Torah.

God's law points me to my need for a Savior (without the law, I wouldn't know I was a sinner), and even though I have been released from the penalty for breaking the law, which is death, I follow God's law because I love Jesus (Y'shua) (John 14:15) and because God's law is holy, and His commandments are righteous and good (Romans 7), and they show me how to live. Because I'm not under [the penalty of] the law, I am free in that I'm no longer in bondage to sin and deserving of the death penalty. The debt has been paid and I'm free to walk in the newness of the Spirit and not by the oldness of the letter.

This is how we keep God's law — in the newness of the Spirit, which is no different today than 4,000 years ago —God wants our hearts! and He wants us to walk in Truth (keep the law of love inwardly).

I know I can do it if I try a little harder.

Written 01.08.18 during our "long winter." I am sorry I never published it, but it is relevant to my story moving forward. ❤️ 


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  2. I love the words "try a little harder." It is like a gentle nudge to do what is right. I appreciate your sharing this!

  3. Truly greatly appreciate ALL you've taken the time to share here in this space. What an amazing blessing. Thank you so much. Pray the Lord continue to bless you & yours greatly. <3 Shay...