Self effort is the attempt of people to make things work for themselves without the help and leading of God. Self effort is works based rather than Grace based, depending heavily on mans ability rather than on God’s sufficiency. As the name goes, it weigh heavily on efforts, attempts, labours and works made by ‘self’. Rather than allowing God to work in you, both to will and to do of His good pleasure, a person under self effort seeks to perfect himself by his own labours and works. We see this all through scriptures. Study Rom 4:1-3, Rom. 8:8-14, 9:8, 1Cor.15:50, Gal.2:16, Phillip.3:3-10 & Heb.4:10.
Self effort seeks to establish itself in his own works independent of Gods finished work on the Cross through Jesus. Rather than resting in God and yielding to the Grace of righteousness, self effort seeks to establish herself in her own righteousness outside of Jesus righteousness which is faith based. For instance, a Christian caught up in sin, ought to repent from this sin by faith, receive his cleansing according to 1John 1:9 by faith, yield to Jesus help to stay free from that sin by faith and boldly declare his/her righteousness positioning with God through Jesus, as the righteousness of God in Christ Jesus no matter what. For you must believe it with your heart and speak it with your mouth Rom.10:10, then the force of righteousness would be activated in you and become operational in your life, to set you free from any addiction and keep you away from sin and sinning. This person must trust in the finished works of Jesus in His life, not trying to set up rules by himself, which would only cause him to fall short as seen in the scriptures above.
Self effort despises faith and rejects Grace. It has a root in pride, thus God says directly once, “without Faith it is impossible to please me” Heb11:6. Not without works but without faith because it takes faith to be born again at all, it takes faith to forgive and receive forgiveness of sin, it takes faith to receive cleansing from all unrighteousness and it is by faith you receive anything in the kingdom therefore we understand that the trading currency of our new kingdom in Christ Jesus is not money or works but faith in God and His word via Jesus Christ, for the Just shall live by Faith Rom.1:17, Gal3:11, Heb10:38. In Heb.3 & 4, we see how much unbelieve is displeasing to God, and how self effort hinders the flow of His power for good towards His people. Twice the Lord says Humble yourself by submitting to God 1Pet.5:5-7 & James 4:6-7.
A life void of absolute faith in God is a life full of sin. Paul tried to live right by Himself once but failed in Romans 7, then He learnt to trust God to help Him live right. You see pride is subtle as much as it is forward. It is subtle in the sense that it would rather work at giving glory to self by attempting to do for self what only God can do. Pride says “let ‘me’ first try to stop this, ‘I’ should be able to stop it, if ‘I’ do this and that. As simple and sincere as that may sound, it is absolutely prideful, because faith humility would have said, “I can of myself do nothing , but at the instance of ‘Jesus’ Grace and help towards me I would sin no more because ‘He’ is my righteousness and by faith I believe ‘He’ wrought His righteousness in me and through me right now, Amen John 8:27, 5:19 & 30. If Jesus did nothing by Him, what are you doing trying to do all things for yourself and by yourselves.