Acquiescence – or control?
For reading & meditation: Philippians 4:10-20
“I am ready for anything through the strength of the one who lives within me.” (v.13, Phillips)
Day by day, as we unfold this thrilling theme of The Corn of Wheat Afraid to Die, it is becoming increasingly obvious that God gives us a choice – a choice of either to live or to die. We can live for the fulfilment of our own desires, or we can die to our desires and live for His. This is perhaps the moment that we should come to grips with the question which people often ask when this issue of “dying to self” is raised: “Isn’t this a terribly passive attitude to life? And doesn’t it tend to diminish personal responsibility and self-control?” John Dewey, the famous American educator, held that view. Once, when lecturing to his students, he drew a line down a blackboard and on one side listed those systems of thought which teach control, and on the other those systems that teach acquiescence. On the “control” side he put “science”, and on the “acquiescence” side he put “religion”. To be fair, he should have written, “Some forms of religion”. The religion of Jesus Christ does not produce passive and acquiescent disciples, but surrendered disciples – surrendered to God, but surrendered to nothing else. They rise from the dust of self-surrender to lay hold on the raw materials of life – good, bad and indifferent – and use them. Would you describe the early Christians as passive and acquiescent? I wouldn’t. Surrendered – yes. Acquiescent – no. Surrendering to God so that He may work in and through us may at first seen passive, but actually it represents the most amazingly positive and active method of dealing with life. Other ways are possible, but no other way is as powerful.
Gracious and loving heavenly Father, I am so thankful that You show me a way of life that doesn’t demean me, but develops me. I fall at Your feet, and lo – I rise to new purposes and new achievements. I am eternally grateful. Amen.
For further study:
1. What are we able to do when God works in us?
2. What does God’s grace produce in us?