I'm re-reading Francis Schaeffer's excellent True Spirituality. I love this book for several reasons, one is that it's not written by "brethren". Not that I'm a hater on "brethren" or anything, but it demonstrates that what we talk about as far as the Christian life isn't some fanatical "brethren" view.
One of the best things in this book is Schaeffer's dealing with the issue of trying to serve God in our own strength. His illustration is excellent. He talks about how the angel told Mary she would be the virgin mother of Christ. She had three options, according to Schaeffer (p. 52):
- She could have said, "no way, leave my body alone"
- She could have said, "I'll get right on that!" and attempted to become a virgin mother
- She could have said, "I'm on board! I trust God to do it."
Sometimes I sound like I'm urging passivity when it comes to Christian living: you can't please God, only Christ can please God in you. I need to be careful about that: like Schaeffer says, it's an active passivity. We do have a part to play in the Christian life, and it's not purely passive. Certainly there is a godly desire involved, to be used of God to glorify Christ.
There are some other excellent things in this book, but I think this is the most helpful.