Whose Initiative?

I continue to battle the thought in my own heart that my sanctification, my worship, my prayers, my use of the means of grace, and every other facet of my post-conversion Christian experience is somehow and must be self-generated. I open a hymnal out of mere self-discipline. I read the Word out of a sense of obligation. I confess my sins as if my confession were the basis of my forgiveness–and consequently the self-generated activity that moves the hand of the Almighty. What folly! Are not all these things but a response to God’s self-generated initiative? The fact that I open a hymnal, read the Word, pray, make use of the means of grace–did not all of these begin by the working of God through the Spirit? If my progress in sanctification really were self-generated, then the glory would be mine. But the Spirit is the One who led me to sing and pray and read, so the glory is God’s alone.

“We are only creatures: our role must always be that of patient to agent, female to male, mirror to light, echo to voice. Our highest activity must be response, not initiative” (C. S. Lewis, The Problem of Pain, 44).

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