God is the Subject

“Christian spirituality is not a life-project for becoming a better person. It is not about developing a so-called deeper life. We are in on it, to be sure, but we are not the subject. Nor are we the action. We get included by means of a few prepositions: God with us (Matt. 1:23), Christ in me (Gal. 2:20), God for us (Rom. 8:31). With, in, for: They are powerful, connecting, relation-forming words, but none of them makes us either the subject or the predicate. We are the tag-end of a prepositional phrase.” Eugene Peterson

“It’s not about developing a so-called deeper life.”  Ugh?  It’s not? Then what is it about? The goal is God himself. Seen in this light, God ceases to be the tool or device we use to acquire our treasure; he becomes our treasure.

When God is the subject it’s no longer about me. It’s no longer about constructing my cherished image of how I think life should be. My treasure is no longer “out there” as something to be attained, achieved or grasped and be feared as though it might slip through my fingers. I no longer need to manipulate God to get what I want. I no longer need to struggle in prayer to try to convince God, by my chattiness or eloquent words, to strong arm him into leaning in my direction.  Prayer is no longer about cutting good deals or using formulas to get him to behave the way I want.

When God is the subject, it changes everything. We begin to realize, the spiritual life begins, depends, and ends with God, not in our ability to make it work.  We begin to recognize the primacy of God’s initiative and activity in our lives to keep us in relationship with him. Through the spiritual disciplines we stay attentive and responsive to the ways God is taking hold of us. Prayer becomes a loving communion with the One who calls us to be with him. We are no longer concerned about just tweeking our behavior but instead begin to offer ourselves lovingly and obediently to his will and ways.

When God is the subject, we simply accept his offer of himself and all of life becomes a way of worship.


  1. This is really good … It’s easy to get caught up with my own spiritual inadequacies and goals – keeping the focus on God and knowing Him more takes the pressure off and keeps the focus where it belongs. I like this post!!!


    1. I love the thought that I’ve been included, attached, associated with this God. Can’t be detached except by my own doing, but feeling a little detached.


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