Does God Bless the Diligent or the Faithful?

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“You can’t be a lazy bum and expect God to bless you.”

“But no matter how hard you work, you can’t do anything without God.”

Ever heard debates like this one? If not, you might be living under a rock.

These discussions come up when you throw together two people from separate camps. One side believes you should work hard for your blessings. The other believes you should trust God to provide for all your needs.

As it turns out, both parties are right.

No, you can’t expect God to bless you when you aren’t willing to put in the hard work. But you also can’t earn your blessings through hard work and clenched teeth.

Instead, a life of true stewardship challenges us to work hard while also believing God will hear our prayers and provide. It’s when you rely too heavily on one or the other that it starts to get messy.

Don’t misunderstand.

We aren’t suggesting God needs you to make your move before He can move mountains or answer your soft, quiet prayers. There’s no denying that He is God. The Almighty. He is all-powerful. He created the sun, the stars, the mountains and the oceans—and filled the entire earth with beauty, mystery and creation.

He doesn’t need us to do anything.

However, He did create each and every one of us with a purpose in mind—and with a magnificently complex brain that allows us to make choices and think for ourselves. We get to contribute to this world, too!

More than likely, work will look different for each and every one of us—and it will shift and change depending on the season of life we’re in.

Maybe your job in this season is to finally pay off your student loans and credit cards. That’s going to take a combination of hard work and faith. You won’t pray your loans out of existence, and you won’t pay them off on your own. You need your Heavenly Father and some serious gazelle intensity to kick your debt to the curb.

Related: What Does the Bible Say About Debt?

Or perhaps you know it’s time to find a new job. You won’t get very far if all you do is wait for opportunities to fall in your lap while you’re sitting on the couch in your pajamas. Instead, you need to be putting your feelers out, searching for what’s out there—and communicating with God and asking Him what He has in store for you. The faith element here involves prayer, reading the Bible, and gathering in community with people who can encourage and help you along the way.

Do you see now how you need one foot firmly rooted in each camp?

God doesn’t expect you to move mountains on your own. You couldn’t even if you wanted to—it’s impossible because you aren’t the Creator of the universe. Likewise, He doesn’t want you to pray while not exerting any effort on your part.

Instead, He wants to work with you.

That’s why you need to put in the hard work while remembering that you can’t do anything without His help.

Remember, God can radically transform your life and your circumstances—but He wants you to play an active role in the story of your life, too.

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