The Will to Walk

Merely to override a human will (as His felt presence in any but the faintest and most mitigated degree would certainly do) would be for Him useless.  He cannot ravish.  He can only woo.  For His ignoble idea is to eat the cake and have it; the creatures are to be one with Him, but yet themselves; merely to cancel them, or assimilate them, will not serve.  He is prepared to do a little overriding at the beginning.  He will set them off with communications of His presence which, though faint, seem great to them, with emotional sweetness, and easy conquest over temptation.  But He never allows this state of affairs to last long.  Sooner or later He withdraws, if not in fact, at least from their conscious experience, all those supports and incentives.  He leaves the creature to stand up on its own legs — to carry out from the will alone duties which have lost all relish.  It is during such trough periods, much more than during the peak periods, that it is growing into the sort of creature He wants it to be.  Hence the prayers offered in the state of dryness are those which please Him best. . . .   He cannot ‘tempt’ to virtue as we do to vice.  He wants them to learn to walk and must therefore take away His hand; and if only the will to walk is really there, He is pleased even with their stumbles.

— Screwtape in The Screwtape Letters, by C. S. Lewis, quoted in A Year with C. S. Lewis, p. 136

Something Better Is Brewing.

This is at least some of what it means to “wait on the Lord.”  Waiting on God does not mean passive indifference — hanging around and doing nothing.  It has more to do with saying no to impulsive, spur-of-the-moment actions or decisions, and by so doing, saying yes to something you know will satisfy much better down the line.  Those who have not yet learned how to wait on the Lord may tend to indulge in something immediate that only half satisfies.  But Christians who have fostered a degree of self-control — Christians who know God better — don’t mind putting pleasure on hold.  They know something better is brewing down the line.

— Joni Eareckson Tada, Pearls of Great Price, May 2 entry

The Man’s Own Faith

Observe the grandeur of redeeming liberality in the apostle.  In his heart of hearts he knows that salvation consists in nothing other than being one with Christ….

And yet he says, and says plainly, that a man thinking differently from all this, or at least quite unprepared to make this wholehearted profession of faith, is yet his brother in Christ.  Even in such a one he believes that the knowledge of Christ, such as it is, will work, the new leaven casting out the old leaven until he too, in the revelation of the Father, shall come to the perfect stature of the fullness of Christ….

But how can he help him if he is not to press upon him his own larger and deeper and wiser insights?

The answer is clear.  Paul will press, but not his opinion, not even the man’s own opinion.  But he will press the man’s own faith upon him….

Obedience is the one condition of progress, and Paul entreats them to obey.  If a man will but work that which is in him, will but make the power of God his own, then it will go well with him forevermore.  Like his Master, Paul urges to action…. 

Whereto you have attained, walk by that.

George MacDonald, Your Life in Christ, p. 203-205