Whose Job Is This?
At whatever point you believed, you entered a new life. You received the spiritual DNA of God and accepted the possibility of total transformation. Now comes the big question—and, for many of us, the big struggle. Is the burden of your transformation on you or on God? Who is responsible for this process of change?
On one hand, we know we can’t live as new creatures simply by sitting on the couch and waiting for the Spirit to zap us with a new nature. It doesn’t manifest like that. Scripture tells us to do certain things—to add to our faith things like goodness, knowledge, self-control, perseverance, and so on (2 Peter 1:5ff). On the other hand, we have not entered into a life of self-effort and raw discipline, as though willpower can change anything at a foundational level. The instructions to add these character qualities are given to those who are already given the divine nature and promises of God’s power to help us step into it (2 Peter 1:4). Transformation isn’t something we create; it’s something done to us by the power of God.
So which is it—our responsibility or God’s? Active or passive? Our effort or his power? In truth, it’s both. It’s his energy, his oversight, his calling, his initiative. But it’s our response, our partnership, our cooperation. He empowers, we choose whether or not to live in his power. His power without our response is fruitless; our effort without his power is futile. But when both go together—when we persistently choose to step into the life he has given—things happen. Life is transformed. And everything continually becomes new.