…work out your own salvation with fear and trembling. For it is God who is working in you, enabling you both to desire and to work out His good purpose.
When the people of Israel came out of bondage in Egypt God provided them bread from heaven called manna. But as soon as they crossed the Jordan River and entered the land of Canaan the manna stopped appearing. At that time they begin to work the ground in order to produce a harvest. Some would say the first type of provision was a miracle and the second was natural, but this is incorrect. Wheat coming from the ground is just as miraculous as bread coming from heaven. The Creator provides both by His grace. The difference is not that one way of providing is miraculous while the other is natural. The difference is that in one scenario God provides the food without the cooperation of men, while in the second men have a role to play.
Understanding this distinction can be helpful in understanding how a healthy and steady growth in sanctification occurs. Only God can sanctify a human heart, just as only God can send rain, sunshine and transform the seed into a fruitful plant. But we do have a role to play. Just as the farmer must till the soil, plant the seed and guard the seedlings, so there are some practical things we must do to ensure that what God works in us will develop in a consistent manner. Continue reading “Spiritual Disciplines (Sanctification Series #6)”