"Will is to grace as the horse is to the rider." St. Augustine
Love that quote! And I have never consider that idea. A horse without a rider never travels in a straight line, never goes anywhere really with intention, and doesn't plan to do anything really exciting- they just want water and food. But a horse and RIDER- now that is the stuff that great stories are made from! Knights and battles, romances and cowboys, you don't have to be horse crazy like me to see a beautiful horse and rider and find a smile on your face. We smile all the time at the thought of God's grace, but I always frown when I think of human will. All that comes to mind is the bad things about our will- our stubborn, ridiculous sinfulness. But what about the will that God gives us to stand up to temptation, speak out as His witness, the will to say no when everyone else says yes, the endurance to "keep on, keepin' on" in this life that throws us curve balls and sometimes even sledge hammers- things that not only rock, but feel like they are destroying our world.
I have been fretting about the things I can't control lately- problems with families, moving complications, and circumstances while I occupy this" earthy tent"- like getting older. This week has got me thinking a lot about how much we can control- how much my WILL can affect with God's grace and guidance. You know me, all about the PLAN- the goal, the things in my life I CAN manipulate. I was so excited to read something that really hit me, and it finally struck me that God's grace is free and given, but to really receive it fully and enjoy His plan, we have to exert our will. We have to willingly put one foot in front of the other, make choices, make decisions and walk with HIM. And that is ok!
I am constantly worrying about if what I am doing is the "right" thing to do, is this what God wants me to say, what would Jesus do in this situation. All important questions, but when they stop you from actually DOING something- red sirens should be going off. We hear all the time to let Jesus carry our burdens, that God can carry us through our problems- but a lot of times I think we "nice Christians" translate these statements into passive thoughts. Could it be possible that God wants us to be running along side Him too? We think that some how being empowered by God to DO THINGS, is taking away from hearing from God what we should do. We don't want to speak out, we don't want to be first, we don't accept the pat on the back. In our attempts to be humble, we are afraid to take pride in doing anything well.
I say all these things in the plural sense, but maybe it is only me that struggles with this idea. I am finally realizing that it is ok to be good at your job, it's not bragging to praise your children, and defending yourself when being bullied or wrongly accused IS a true Christian virtue. Conflict is rapant in the Old and New Testaments, and many times with God's approval and design! Through these troubles we learn fortitude, perseverance, and discipline.
God wants us to take an active role in our lives and really LIVE. A professor at USC, Dallas Willard said" We all know that Jesus said, in John 15 'without me you can do nothing.' We need to add, 'if we do nothing, it will most assuredly be without Him.'"
By the way: The photo is my awesome Samson, and our dear friend Toby. He came to visit this last week, and oh, the fun we had! Steve and I miss our "parents in Christ"- Toby was one of the people who lead us both to Christ, and those first few years of knowing the Lord were filled with debates, discussions, and so much learning about God and His Word. Steve and I enjoyed bouncing ideas off of Toby, and hearing what he thought. What a blessing it was, in a rough time for us. Yet again, God proves He is faithful, and His timing is always perfect.