Cooperating with Grace
As apprentices of Christ we learn to work wisely with God's grace when we train with the spiritual disciplines, beginning the slow process of unwinding our vices. Francis of Assisi wrote that, "Above all the grace and the gifts that Christ gives to his beloved is that of overcoming self." Grace is what God loves to give, it's His abundant nature spilling over, it's the Spirit acting in our lives to accomplish what we cannot by direct effort. It's who He is. It's God giving for the joy of giving, not because He has to, but because He wants to. When it comes to growing in grace, God is always the primary mover, the initiator. Our job is to pay attention and respond. François Fénelon put it just right, "The wind of God is always blowing... but you must hoist your sail." Practicing the Spiritual Disciplines is about cooperating with grace, it's simply sowing seed upon the soil of our soul. God causes the growth, first the blade, then the head, and then the mature grain. (Mrk 4:28) Our job is to sow, His job is to grow.