If we were in control of our spirituality it would certainly be about our self-reliant ability to tweak our behavior, through gathering information and mastering principles and techniques, whereby we would become “worthy” enough.
But we are not. Good thing.
Christianity is the great reversal; from acting to being acted upon. Our formation into Christlikeness is the experience, initiated by God, of being shaped by God. (What we soon discover is…the Christian life is not the life we live for God…it’s the life that God lives in us and through us.)
In fact, it is for this purpose that God is present and active in every moment of our lives. Our part is to offer ourselves to God in ways that enable that work of grace to take hold of our lives. This most often comes in the form of surrender to God’s will and ways…in all those moments throughout our day.
Thomas Merton wrote, “We are not converted only once in our lives but many times, and this endless series of large and small conversions, inner revolutions, leads to our transformation in Christ.” What we find is…conversion doesn’t happen just once. It happens many times, little by little, in imperceptible, virtually immeasurable ways in every small surrender throughout our day.
I surrender my inclination to share luscious gossip and the power of jealousy (although unnoticeable) is broken. I surrender my need to feel important by simply listening instead of injecting my opinion and ego is put in its place. I surrender my desire to slander and instead offer blessing and the power of anger is disabled. Every day as I surrender to my inclination to live from a place of self-preservation and self-inflation, to obedience in Christ, I have allowed the transforming grace of God to do its work.
The incredible thing is this: Becoming a fully devoted follower of Christ is not an unachievable goal “out there.” It’s a daily reality as we relinquish our cherished expectations and agenda to God’s control of our life and being. Most of these daily surrenders are small. When we make them, however,we are opening ourselves up to God’s love and our own transformation.
“Self help is no help at all. Self-sacrifice is the way, my way, to finding yourself, your true self” (Matt. 16:25) TM.