Jump directly to the Content

GROWTH: AN ACT OF THE WILL?

Does spiritual development depend on my effort? A reflection on the interplay of God's will and ours.

The people with whom I grew up talked a lot about "breaking the will." The task of every devout parent was to "break the will" of the child. I don't remember ever hearing it used by adults on one another, but that may be a more or less willful defect in my memory.

The assumption underlying this linchpin in the program for Christian development in our church was, apparently, that the will, especially a child's will, is contrary to God's will. A broken will left one open to the free play of God's will.

Fifty years later, I recall my now-grown-up friends who were enrolled in this school of childhood spirituality and along with me got their wills broken with regularity. By my observations, we all seem to have passed through the decades every bit as pigheaded and stiff-necked as any of our uncircumcised Philistine chums who never went to church, or at least not to churches that specialized in breaking the wills of little kids. Apparently a broken will mends ...

Subscriber access only You have reached the end of this Article Preview

To continue reading, subscribe to Christianity Today magazine. Subscribers have full digital access to CT Pastors articles.

November
Support Our Work

Subscribe to CT for less than $4.25/month

Homepage Subscription Panel

Read These Next

Related
God's Calling Plan
God's Calling Plan
How does God summon leaders for his cause?
From the Magazine
Empty Pews Are an American Public Health Crisis
Empty Pews Are an American Public Health Crisis
Americans are rapidly giving up on church. Our minds and bodies will pay the price.
Editor's Pick
How Might the COVID-19 Crisis Reshape our Churches for Good?
How Might the COVID-19 Crisis Reshape our Churches for Good?
We have a unique opportunity to reset, pivot from old patterns, and look afresh at the future.
close