Personal effort and God's Grace

To make the fastest progress, God’s Grace plus personal effort, self-effort, is required. Some seekers say, “If we care for God’s Grace, then what is the necessity of personal effort here on earth?” They are mistaken because personal effort will never stand in the way of God’s descending Grace; personal effort expedites the descent of God’s Grace to earth.

Surrender is not something we can suddenly offer to God. Total surrender requires personal effort; again, total surrender can play the part of personal effort. God can give us all that He wants without even an iota of personal effort from us. He says, “It is for your own satisfaction that I ask you to make this little personal effort.” When we can make this personal effort, our whole life will be surcharged with divine pride: “See what I have done for God?” Our conscious oneness with God, who is infinite, who is eternally immortal, prompts us to do something for our Dearest and not for our ego.

But if somebody asks, “What have you done for God?” what will be our answer? Silence. We can be bloated with pride and say, “God has done this for me, God has done that for me, God has done everything for me!” Or we can be consciously and spontaneously proud that God has accepted us as His very own, that He is helping us and blessing us.

If we sincerely make personal effort, then God is bound to be pleased with us. Why? Because He can tell the world, “My child, my chosen instrument has done many things for Me.” We can prove ourselves worthy of our existence on earth and at the same time we can make God proud of our personal effort. But while making our personal effort, we have to know that in God there is infinite Grace. When Grace descends, there is no more personal effort; it is only dynamic self-surrender. When we offer the results of our aspiration and inner urge to God, that is called true surrender. If we do not offer the results to God and just lie like a dead body at His Feet, letting Him work for us, in us and through us, it is wrong. God does not want an inactive body, a dead soul. He wants someone who is active, dynamic and aspiring; someone who wants to be energised so that he can do something for God; someone who wants to realise God and manifest all the divine qualities here on earth.

Sri Chinmoy, Surrender's unlimited power, Sri Chinmoy Lighthouse, New York, 1974