Mondays with MacDonald (on God’s role in our moral development)

God does not, by the instant gift of his Spirit, make us always feel right, desire good, love purity, aspire after him and his will…The truth is this: He wants to make us in his own image, choosing the good, refusing the evil. How should he effect this if he were always moving us from within, as he does at divine intervals, towards the beauty of holiness? God gives us room to be; does not oppress us with his will; “stands away from us,” that we may act from ourselves, that we may exercise the pure will for good. Do not, therefore, imagine me to mean that we can do anything of ourselves without God. If we choose the right at last, it is all God’s doing, and only the more his that it is ours, only in a far more marvellous way his than if he had kept us filled with all holy impulses precluding the need of choice. For up to this very point, for this very point, he has been educating us, leading us, pushing us, driving us, enticing us, that we may choose him and his will, and so be tenfold more his children, of his own best making, in the freedom of the will found our own first in its loving sacrifice to him, for which in his grand fatherhood he has been thus working from the foundations of the earth, than we could be in the most ecstatic worship flowing from the divinest impulse, without this willing sacrifice. For God made our individuality as well as, and a greater marvel than, our dependence; made our apartness from himself, that freedom should bind us divinely dearer to himself, with a new and inscrutable marvel of love; for the Godhead is still at the root, is the making root of our individuality, and the freer the man, the stronger the bond that binds him to him who made his freedom. He made our wills, and is striving to make them free; for only in the perfection of our individuality and the freedom of our wills call we be altogether his children. This is full of mystery, but can we not see enough in it to make us very glad and very peaceful?

George MacDonald

From Unspoken Sermons, vol. 1, “The Eloi”

Recent Posts: