I thought about these words for a long time. I kept thinking about them. Then I thought about them some more.
These words made me uncomfortable. I didn't really like the sentiment - it seemed fabricated and fatalistic. Then one day it dawned on me that will and action are - in this context - two quite separate ideas.
I thought immediately of Romans 7:
For I know that nothing good dwells in me, that is, in my flesh. For I have the desire to do what is right, but not the ability to carry it out. For I do not do the good I want, but the evil I do not want is what I keep on doing. Now if I do what I do not want, it is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells within me. So I find it to be a law that when I want to do right, evil lies close at hand. For I delight in the law of God, in my inner being, but I see in my members another law waging war against the law of my mind and making me captive to the law of sin that dwells in my members. Wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death?
We have the capacity to will good. We do not have the capacity to do good. And it is precisely this great moral disconnect that Jesus died to set right: to absolve us from our past sins and bless us with the indwelling Holy Spirit to incrementally (or sometimes immediately) overcome our present ones.
We must will ourselves into the position where God can knead His holiness into our lives; where His Spirit invades us like yeast invades cold dough and awakens it with life and purpose. It is a painful and far from passive process.
I'm responsible for the grunt work. God's responsible for the glory.
We have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellency of the power may be of God, and not of us.
- 2 Corinthians 4:7
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