Do or do not, the wise, grizzly Yoda advised his enthusiastic pupil, Luke Skywalker, there is no try.
When you are nine years old, straining forward in a blackened movie theatre, the buttery popcorn in your lap all but forgotten as you are transported once more to far away galaxies where the lines between right and wrong, good and evil, are clearly defined, you are ready to take on the challenge with your hero Luke. And you share in Master Yoda’s frustration when Luke lets the distractions of his friends keep him from moving forward in his training for the privilege of being a Jedi.
When you are decades older than that nine-year-old movie fan, you take a few moments to reflect on the wisdom of what Yoda has to say in his funny, inside-out kind of dialect. If we approach anything with an attitude that we will try, we have already admitted to ourselves the possibility of failure. Either we must proceed with the sincere belief that we will succeed in what we are doing, or we have already failed.
“All you need to say is simply ‘Yes’ or ‘No’; anything beyond this comes from the evil one,” Christ tells us (Matthew 5:37).
Yes or No. Do or do not. If we are living the life that Christ calls us to live, than when we say we will do something, it should be a certainty that that thing will be done.
Above all, my brothers and sisters, James admonishes, do not swear–not by heaven or by earth or by anything else. All you need to say is a simple “Yes” or “No.” Otherwise you will be condemned. 5:12
Perhaps, it is a bit of a hard line to say that with God, there is no try. There are certainly times in every person’s life when we feel so broken, that even being able to say, “I will try,” seems too much effort. But isn’t the precise point of faith in an Almighty God that we should take that bold step in full belief that by leaning on God we can do whatever He wills?
Christ, ever leading by example, gives us full proof of this process as He prays in the Garden on the night of His betrayal:
“Father, if you are willing, take this cup from me; yet not my will, but yours be done,” He says (Luke 22:42).
To reach success in anything, one must be disciplined to practice the skills required, over and over, in order to improve one’s abilities. Whether those skills involve scales on a piano or speaking with patience, humility and love, the discipline means moving forward with an attitude of doing rather than trying.
I cannot fail God because He already knows all the mistakes I am going to make in this life. I cannot earn God’s love because I already have it through my acceptance of Christ’s grace. But, when I accept the grace Christ offers, I am saying I will go beyond trying to follow the word of God.
I am promising to DO. Doing not?–not an option.