John 14: 23
I've been mulling over this quote from St. Augustine: “He who created us without our help will not save us without our consent.”
There are so many ideas tied up in this quote. It speaks to God's omnipotent power. It reveals His decision to not make us robots, instead giving us free will. It reminds us of how He came to earth as Jesus, lowly and in a manger, not interested in kingly power, but focused on winning our hearts and saving our souls.
This is illustrated well in a Last Supper discussion with disciples wondering why Jesus was talking about heading to the cross instead of overthrowing the Roman occupiers of their land. Responding in John 14: 23,
Jesus replied, “Anyone who loves me will obey my teaching. My Father will love them, and we will come to them and make our home with them."
Instead of addressing their worldly concerns, Jesus answers with eternal truth. Love leads to obedience leads to opening the door to our hearts, so God can come in and make a home. But the door must open from the inside, not the outside.
Drug addict Richard had been imprisoned for aggravated burglary. He started going to prison chapel and was given a Bible, but he would tear out the thin pages to roll cigarettes.
One day Richard started reading the page he had just torn. It was from the Gospel of John, and it was "captivating," he said. Richard slept peacefully that night. The next day, he tried to visualize Jesus and imagined a statue he had seen of Jesus on the cross. The image said to him, "Richard, I did this for you."
Richard opened the door of his heart that day. One thing led to another. Now he pastors a church and runs a rehabilitation program for addicts and former prisoners.
This couldn't have occurred without Richard's consent. But once the door was open, Christ entered, and marvelous things happened.
How do you need to open your heart today to let God in?
Enrollment is open for a fall online group study of my second book, "Live Like You're Loved." Would you like to feel the joy of being loved and forgiven by God, letting that joy flow through to others each day? That's one of the goals of the steps you'll find in "Live Like You're Loved." Please visit https://store.ceciltaylorministries.com/collections/online-book-studies to register.