The farther from God that you realize yourself to be, the closer you really become. Redemption is not a strain for him, as if you were helping him out by giving him fewer things to redeem. Being one of God’s people is not a matter of finding natural virtues in yourself and displaying them instead of your natural weaknesses. It’s a matter of coming to God without bringing any natural virtues or goodness. If you have any, they aren’t natural anyway — God gave them to you. It’s not even a matter of trusting God to add virtues where you have weaknesses, or of coming to him the first time with empty hands then taking up your own virtues again. Your own virtues are your defense against God. When he marches forth to conquer your heart, you’re telling him that some parts of you don’t need to be conquered. What you really mean is that you’re going to try to keep God from conquering them, and until the final judgement, you may succeed. Your heart’s goal is not to surrender at all, and if surrender becomes necessary (it will happen in the end), let it not be an unconditional surrender. Let me not ever be defenseless, we say, even in the face of God. But he attacks us only to become our only defender.
1 thought on “Defending yourself against God”
When I wrote “finding natural virtues in yourself and displaying them,” I was thinking of a passage in John Fischer’s “Dark Horse,” where the young horses learn how to imitate the great White Horse, not by gaining white coats but by showing off the white patches on their coats. Does this sound like any group you’ve been a part of?