There is a scene from Star Wars, The Empire Strikes Back, in which Luke Skywalker is training down in the swamps of Dagobah, “where it bubbles all the time like a giant carbonated soda.” Jedi master Yoda commands Luke to excavate an X-wing fighter that has sunk at the bottom of the swamp. You remember that scene, right? Upon Yoda’s request, Luke responds, “All right, I’ll give it a try.” Notice Yoda’s answer to Luke. Are you ready? This is deep theological stuff.
Yoda says, “No! Try not. Do. Or do not!! There is no try.”
Sometimes we use “I’m trying” as an excuse. Don’t we? I know I do. I think the tiny, pointy eared, green puppet might be on to something. Either we do, or we do not. Sure, sometimes we fail in the middle of doing. Sometimes we fall short. Sometimes we mess up. When we say we are trying, however, often it is an excuse for not giving our best, or it is a way out if we fail.
If we want to be a good parent either we are doing the things it takes to be a good parent or we are not. We are giving our kids the time they deserve, investing in them, putting our needs second, disciplining them, loving them, and caring for them, or we are not.
If we want to be close to God we are praying, reading God’s word, attending worship, memorizing scripture, confessing our sins, and having others hold us accountable or we are not.
If we want to be good at something we are practicing, educating ourselves, placing ourselves around others who are better than us, and devoting time to it or we are not.
If we want to have a good marriage we are spending time with our spouse, setting appropriate boundaries, doing things for them, putting their welfare ahead of ours, meeting unspoken needs, loving them unconditionally or we are not.
When it comes to our lives we often deceive ourselves and say we are trying, when in reality we are not doing what it takes to accomplish the task set before us. Sometimes simply trying is the easy way out. Sometimes trying is an excuse. Sometimes trying is leaves us an open window to exit through when the going gets tough. Shouldn’t we be doing?
At times we even fool ourselves into thinking that knowing is the same thing as doing. We know what it takes to be a good parent, spouse, Christian, hobbyist, and we delude ourselves into thinking that knowing is enough. It is the doing that makes the difference. It is the application of the knowledge that brings us the desired results.
Are you trying? Do you fool yourself into thinking that knowing is the same as doing? Let’s forget trying and let’s start doing. In doing we are going to fail. We will fall short at times, but at least we can say we only stumbled in the midst of doing and applying what we know it takes to reach the goal.
But be doers of the word and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves. Because if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man looking at his own face in a mirror. For he looks at himself, goes away, and immediately forgets what kind of man he was. But the one who looks intently into the perfect law of freedom and perseveres in it, and is not a forgetful hearer but one who does good works—this person will be blessed in what he does.– James 1:22-25
Walk good. Live wise. Be blessed.
What do you need to start doing?