Seeing Alternatives

Most of our decisions do not lead us exactly where we want to go. Yet the more narrowly focused we are on a particular destination — the more focused we are on getting to a particular room — the harder it can be to see the alternatives. After all, if you’ve spent half your life chasing a dream — whether a dream job, a dream marriage, or a dream family — it’s terrifying to suddenly switch course and take a chance on something different. Yet only once we broaden our scope of vision can we see all the many other possibilities for happiness.

— Sherre Hirsch, Thresholds, p. 148

True Belief

Like so many seeming Christians, she could not divorce her mind from thinking of belief as a framework of viewpoints — social, political, philosophical, and theoretical; none of which the Lord had anywhere in his mind when he said, “Repent and believe in the Gospel.” True belief consists in no cognitive convictions, no matter how pious, no matter how biblically correct, but rather in life as it is lived!

— George MacDonald, Knowing the Heart of God, p. 75, quoting from The Landlady’s Master

The Loving, Good Judge

Having [God] as my judge is good whether I be in the right or the wrong. I want him as my judge all the more when I am wrong, for then I most keenly need his wisdom. Would I have my mistakes overlooked? Not at all! Shall he not do right? And will he not set me right? I can think of nothing so wonderful!

— George MacDonald, Knowing the Heart of God, p. 51 (from The Landlady’s Master)

Let Their Light Shine

The duty of Christians toward their fellow men and women is to let their light shine, not to force on them their interpretations of God’s designs.

If those who set themselves to explain the various theories of Christianity had set themselves instead to do the will of the Master, the one object for which the gospel was preached, how different would the world now be!…

Unhindered by Christians’ explanations of Christianity, undeterred by having their acceptance forced on them, but attracted instead by their behavior, men would be saying to each other, as Moses said to himself when he saw the bush that burned but was not consumed, “I will now turn aside to see this great sight!” All over the world, people would be drawing near to behold how these Christians loved one another and how just and fair they were to every one that came into contact with them. They would note that the goods Christians had to sell were the best, their weights and measures most dependable, their prices most reasonable, their word most certain, their smiles most genuine, their love most selfless!… They would see, in short, a people who lived by their principles of belief, not merely talked and disputed about them.

— George MacDonald, Knowing the Heart of God, p. 43-44

Not About Past Sin

We may be sure of this, that no man or woman will be condemned for any sin that is past. If he be condemned, it will be because he or she would not come to the Light when the Light came to them, because they would not learn to do as the Light instructs, because they hid their unbelief in the garment of a false faith, and would not obey.

— George MacDonald, Knowing the Heart of God, p. 42

Living by Faith

Instead of asking yourself whether you believe or not, ask yourself whether you have this day done one single thing because he said, “Do it,” or once abstained because he said, “Do not do it.” I do not say that you will not have, as a matter of course, done this or that good thing that fell into harmony with the words of Jesus. But have you done or not done any act, as a conscious decision made because he said to do it or not?

— George MacDonald, Knowing the Heart of God, p. 30

Doing as Christ Tells You

We can never come to know Jesus as he is by believing any theory about him. What I would point people to is a faith in the living, loving, ruling, helping Christ. It is not faith that Christ did this, or that his work wrought that which will save us. Rather, it is faith in the man himself who did and is doing everything for us.

Do you ask, “What is faith in him?”

I answer, the leaving of your way, your objects, your self, and the taking of his and him; the leaving of your trust in men, in money, in opinion, in character, in religious doctrines and opinions, and then doing as Christ tells you.

I can find no words strong enough to serve for the weight of this necessity — this obedience.

— George MacDonald, Knowing the Heart of God, p. 29