what looks best
is most dangerous.
(The above picture came up when I googled “tempting but dangerous.” Cat Woman from the 1966 Batman series.)
Jesus said, “What a generation! No sense of God! How many times do I have to go over these things? How much longer do I have to put up with this?
How often we fail to use the spiritual resources that have been graciously given to us, and that are right in front of us.
We have the power of faith to overcome the enemy. It is not a weapon of mere human design. It is supernatural power that must be cultivated accordingly. Not thru hard work and trying, but thru disciplined dependence.
Nothing great, real, or lasting is accomplished for God without prayer, for prayer taps in to the real, beyond-human power that is God’s limitless power. Whatever is done for God without the power of prayer, is done by our finite, much weaker human effort alone, and therefore, it is infinitely less effective.
The way to liberation and rest lies through a decision and a practice.
The decision is to release the world and your fate, including your reputation and “success,” into the hands of God. This is not a decision to not act at all, though in some situations it may come to that. It is, rather, a decision concerning how you will act: you will act in dependence on God. You will not take charge of outcomes. You will do your part, of course, but your part will always be chastened by a sense of who God is–not you!
A decision to release the world and our fate to God runs contrary to everything within and around us. We have been had by a system of behavior that was here before we were and seeps into every pore of our being. “Sin,” Paul tells us, “was in the world,” even before the law came. It forms us internally and pressures us externally. Hence we must learn to choose things that meet with God’s actions of grace to break us out of the system. These things are the disciplines of life in the Spirit, well known from Christian history but much avoided and misunderstood. For those who do not understand our desperate situation, these disciplines look strange or even harmful. But they are absolutely necessary for those who would find rest for their soul in God and not live the distracted existence Pascal so accurately portrays.