“Our constant struggle with the issue of control is a crucial part of our spiritual pilgrimage. I don’t mind spiritual formation at all as long as I can be in control of it.(!!) As long as I can set the limits on its pace and its direction, I have no problem. What I do have a problem with is getting my control structures out of the way of my spiritual formation and letting God take control. In the final analysis, there is nothing we can do to transform ourselves into persons who love and serve as Jesus did except make ourselves available for God to do that work of transforming grace in our lives.” M. Robert Mulholland. Invitation to a Journey, p 26
How does this connect for you? It’s always been a bit a bit of a large print journal moment for it. It encourages me to step back and ask questions of myself. At times, I can get tempted to think of spiritual growth as a process I’m in charge of. A human project. As though my effort alone produces the results.
It reminds me of some words from Dallas Willard that I can’t shake off, “The Christian life is what you do when you realize you can do nothing.” More significantly, it reminds me of what Jesus said, “I am the vine, you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, your will bear much fruit; for apart from me you can do nothing” John 15:5.
If there is nothing we can do to grow ourselves spiritually except be available for God to do the work of transforming us, then what does it look like to make ourselves available to God’s transforming work versus our own effort?