I’ve been reading a (pretty good) devotional about learning to get away from loving the law and moving toward loving God. But as usual with most devotionals, the author really blew it in the prayer at the end of one reading when he said he knew he could count on God to assist him in the above-mentioned transformation. Everything I know and have learned leads me to believe the transformation of my heart and soul is not something I can do, even with divine “assistance.”
Assistance? God is not a cosmic vending machine, a butler or valet, a lady’s maid or a personal assistant. Becoming a Christian, living like one and becoming like Christ – none of these are things we initiate or accomplish. Jesus does it all, from start to finish. He includes us in his life and gives us the opportunity to participate in everything he is and does.
Notice I didn’t say we can’t accomplish this on our own. That’s because there is no “on our own” when it comes to being a Christian. Everything we do is in Christ; everything we do is because of him, by him, in him, for him. He wills it, starts it, he works it out and finishes it. “For God is working in you, giving you the desire and the power to do what pleases him” (Philippians 2:13, NLT).
I can assist him in my transformation by surrendering my will and desires to him, practicing his presence and the spiritual disciplines and keeping my eyes focused on him – all as he enables me, in his strength.