Now the serpent was more crafty than any other beast of the field that the Lord God had made. He said to the woman, “Did God actually say, ‘You  shall not eat of any tree in the garden’?” And the woman said to the serpent, “We may eat of the fruit of the trees in the garden, but God said, ‘You shall not eat of the fruit of the tree that is in the midst of the garden, neither shall you touch it, lest you die.’” But the serpent said to the woman, “You will not surely die. For God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.” So when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was a delight to the eyes, and that the tree was to be desired to make one wise,  she took of its fruit and ate, and she also gave some to her husband who was with her, and he ate. (Genesis 3:1-6, ESV)Adam and Eve spoke face to face to God, and yet when the tempter comes and says, "Did God actually say... ?" they succumbed. How much more susceptible are we today? The wiles of the enemy are vast. Our enemy will come to us clothed in light to deceive. We must immerse ourselves in God's Word daily if at all possible. We must become so familiar with God's Word that when the deceiver comes we can test what is said and if it does not line up with what God has revealed to us then we already have our answer. When Jesus was tempted in the wilderness he did not consult His own feelings on the matter, he did not take a poll, He answered, "it is written..." (Matthew 4).
"I passed by the field of a sluggard, by the vineyard of a man lacking sense, and behold, it was all overgrown with thorns; the ground was covered with nettles, and its stone wall was broken down. Then I saw and considered it; I looked and received instruction. A little sleep, a little slumber, a little folding of the hands to rest, and poverty will come upon you like a robber, and want like an armed man." (Proverbs 24:30-34, ESV)I am not saying that great feats of effort and care are not possible, nor am i saying that mankind does not do 'good' things. What i am saying is that we will, if left to ourselves for a protracted amount of time, we will not exert any more effort than is absolutely necessary. Much more than that takes effort. The more that needs to be done beyond the base, the more self disciplined effort it will take. Before anyone would try and burn me at the stake (unlikely with the number of readers i probably have), i am aware that there may be an exception out there, i am making broad/generic statements here - i am most definitely including myself in all this as well. Look along the sides of many of the roads in North America. You will almost invariably see trash. Why? Because people are too lazy to secure it until they reach a trash can to dispose of it properly. I have seen couples get divorced because one, or both, of them were more interested in playing video games than taking care of the basic chores around the house. I have witnessed people drive their cars to a neighbor's house that is only four doors away instead of walking. Things like this are not limited to physical exertion either. It is an epidemic in America where people would rather charge up credit cards, or take out bad loans, instead of working hard and saving for the things that want to buy. There are some areas in each of our lives where we do put forth that extra effort. Things that are near and dear to our hearts, but not in everything. It takes effort to raise children. Because you do not have to teach a child how to cheat, lie, be kind and courteous, a parent or guardian has to make that extra effort to teach, guide, and discipline when necessary. No two children are alike either. Parents must take the time to learn what each child responds to. All the while struggling with their own (the parent's) issues (i.e. sins). The same is true with our relationships with others. Friends, families, co-workers, fellow church members, etc. Now, multiply the efforts for special needs children and it can quickly seem/feel overwhelming. These examples are pretty limited as they are strictly from my own experiences and point of view. But this concept is accurate across most, if not all, areas of life. How many troubles in life come about because a little effort is not taken in the beginning. A false rumor that is started, but someone who knows the truth doesn't stand up and counter it. A small crack in a window is not taken care of before it completely breaks and someone gets hurt. There is no way to address every possible scenario, but if one has come to your mind while you were reading this - chances are it is something you have not done or need to take care of. The Panama canal was not completed with out blood, sweat, tears, suffering, and pain. Simple things do not become complex without intervention. It is a natural instinct to conserve energy - even when a little used now will save a lot later. Everything good is worth the effort. You cannot accomplish everything, especially on your own. Two oxen together can accomplish more than separately. Take the time to work on your self, to help your neighbor, etc. A few days ago an internet friend posted a really good entry on her blog concerning just starting out small in regards to things in your spiritual life. This was an area that i know i am weak in. To my discredit i do not put forth as much effort as i should - especially when it comes to my walk with Christ. The greatest thing is that His grace is so amazing that as we take efforts to draw close to Him... He rewards us with renewed strength and passion. What an awesome dynamic. A final comment on this... do not confuse effort with headlong, mindless, pushing forward. Effort is not just physical, but mental. There is a balance to all things, and there are various ways to deal with things and the type of effort needs to be adjusted for each situation and person.
"For though I am free from all, I have made myself a servant to all, that I might win more of them. To the Jews I became as a Jew, in order to win Jews. To those under the law I became as one under the law (though not being myself under the law) that I might win those under the law. To those outside the law I became as one outside the law (not being outside the law of God but under the law of Christ) that I might win those outside the law. To the weak I became weak, that I might win the weak. I have become all things to all people, that by all means I might save some. I do it all for the sake of the gospel, that I may share with them in its blessings.
Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one receives the prize? So run that you may obtain it. Every athlete exercises self-control in all things. They do it to receive a perishable wreath, but we an imperishable. So I do not run aimlessly; I do not box as one beating the air. But I discipline my body and keep it under control,  lest after preaching to others I myself should be disqualified."(1 Corinthians 9:19-27, ESV)
May the words I say And the things I do Make my lifesong sing Bring a smile to You
Let my lifesong sing to You Let my lifesong sing to You I want to sign Your name to the end of this day Knowing that my heart was true Let my lifesong sing to You
Lord I give my life A living sacrifice To reach a world in need To be Your hands and feet
So may the words I say And the things I do Make my lifesong sing Bring a smile to You
Hallelujah Hallelujah Let my lifesong sing to You