Hope you’ve had a wonderful week. Mine flew by and the clean laundry mountain that resides on the guest bed only gained breadth and elevation. I need to get on the simplifying bandwagon because clearly I ain’t folding it.
Of course I could make a better effort. Throwing my hands up in defeat is not the answer for laundry nor for life, and definitely not for faith. Yet that is a pretty common mindset: Christ did it all, there’s nothing to earn, so why put forth any effort? But as one of my pastors recently pointed out, the Christian faith is opposed to earning, not effort. Throwing in the towel on effort is always a big mistake but especially when it comes to living godly lives.
I am so convicted by Foster’s Celebration of Discipline because it lays out how important discipline is in the life of disciples. Still my slide back into cruise mode pervades.
This afternoon I read C.S. Lewis’s essay A Slip of the Tongue. It’s brief but packs a punch about being wholly devoted. Lewis quotes William Law who said, “If you have not chosen the Kingdom of God, it will make in the end no difference what you have chosen instead.” Lewis adds, “Will it really make no difference whether it was women or patriotism, cocaine or art, whisky or a seat in the Cabinet, money or science? Well, surely no difference that matters. We shall have missed the end for which we are formed and rejected the only thing that satisfies. Does it matter to a man dying in the desert by which choice of route he missed the only well?”
Only Christ provides ultimate satisfaction. Yet I am so guilty of failing to give Him my whole life on a daily basis.
Again Lewis’s words are apt: “I do not think any efforts of my own will can end once and for all this craving for limited liability, this fatal reservation. Only God can…[yet]…the process of doing it will appear to me (and not falsely) to be the daily or hourly repeated exercises of my own will in renouncing this attitude…”
Where do you have a “fatal reservation”? In other words, where are you refusing to fully submit to God’s plan and authority? Can you allow God to work through you to root out this resistance? Even if it looks and feels like human effort?
Because it may seem like we are dragging ourselves to the well, but it is God who pours down the blessing. He does the work. We can’t earn anything. But it does not follow that we should just sit back, relax and enjoy the ride. After all no one’s default destination is godliness!
“For this very reason, make every effort to supplement your faith with virtue, and virtue with knowledge, and knowledge with self-control, and self-control with steadfastness, and steadfastness with godliness, and godliness with brotherly affection, and brotherly affection with love.”
2 Peter 1:5-7 ESV
The end goal is love. God does the work. But we should make every effort.
May this weekend be one of full surrender, fervent pursuit and, if necessary, a smidge of folding.