Not all initiative is inspired. “Just do it,” people say. “Just get on with it.” That is ordinary human initiative. But when the Spirit of God comes in and says, “Wake up, sleeper, rise from the dead,” we find ourselves genuinely inspired and ready to act.

We all have visions and ideals when we are young, but sooner or later we find that we have no power to make them real. We give up on our dreams and let them die; we let our ideals wither away. Then God comes in with his miraculous power, and we find we are able to do the impossible.

A mistake we make is believing that, because God is capable of miracles, we don’t need to put forth any effort of our own. When God says, “Rise from the dead,” we have to get up; God will not lift us up. In Matthew 12, Jesus heals a man with a shriveled hand—but first, Jesus asks the man to reach out to him. “He said to the man, ‘Stretch out your hand.’ So he stretched it out and it was completely restored” (v. 13). As the man acted in faith, Jesus acted to help the man. The same principle holds true in our lives: Although God, in his infinite power, could give us a life of instant, effortless gratification, this is not his will for us. Instead, he asks us to extend ourselves to him as he extends himself to us.

If the Lord has extended the hand of spiritual initiative to you, reach out and take it. As soon as you do, you will find that the light of God’s inspiration is yours: “And Christ will shine on you.”

Wisdom from Oswald

Beware of isolation; beware of the idea that you have to develop a holy life alone. It is impossible to develop a holy life alone; you will develop into an oddity and a peculiarism, into something utterly unlike what God wants you to be. The only way to develop spiritually is to go into the society of God’s own children, and you will soon find how God alters your set. God does not contradict our social instincts; He alters them.  Biblical Psychology, 189 L