Faith and human effort just don’t play well together.
Most believers are Galationized. That means we do what the churches of Galatia did, we mix the old covenant with the new covenant. We believe in Jesus, but we also believe in ourselves. Paul the apostle called them out on this.
But aren’t we supposed to believe in ourselves? Isn’t that healthy? No, absolutely not. Mixing faith in Jesus with faith in yourself will get you tangled up. You get snarled every time.
Are you so foolish? Having begun by the Spirit, are you now being perfected by the FLESH (human effort)? (Galatians 3:3)
When you mix flesh (your work) and Spirit (God’s work), your life ends up looking like your tangled Christmas lights from the year before. You laid them neatly in the box. How did they end up in such a jumbled mess? So you have to spend an afternoon trying to untangle the mess of lights and ornaments before you decorate. How does this happen? Who snuck up into the attic and tied the lights in knots?
That’s what happens to Christians. After a few years trying to live the Christian life through a mix of faith and human effort we end up with a twisted mess. That’s when many believers give up. I say it’s better to untangle the clutter of effort and faith. Faith works better when it’s not being strangled by our efforts.
I’ve had to do that…more than once in my life. I’ve had to sort out what was a simple faith relationship with Jesus from what was my efforts to serve Him.