God is the initiator

InitiatorThe longer I am a Christian, the more I realize how dependent upon God we really are. This quote from John Stott resonated with me:

“Many people visualize a God who sits comfortably on a distant throne, remote, aloof, uninterested, and indifferent to the needs of mortals, until, it may be, they can badger him into taking action on their behalf. Such a view is wholly false. The Bible reveals a God who, long before it even occurs to man to turn to him, while man is still lost in darkness and sunk in sin, takes the initiative, rises from his throne, lays aside his glory, and stoops to seek until he finds him.”

I recently heard a speaker make a comparison between Christianity and other religions. Christianity at its core reveals a God who initiates and man who responds. Other religions reverse this by making man the initiator who seeks to gain a response from God. In those religions, man earns the notice of God through his diligence in following rituals and his performance of good deeds.

We cannot be the initiator in the relationship with God. This is because we have a fundamental problem which Jesus came to address. I borrow from John Stott again:

“For we are not only ignorant; we are sinful. It is not sufficient therefore that God should have revealed himself to us to dispel our ignorance. He must also take action to save us from our sins.”

To put it another way, we are wilfully ignorant of God. We are ignorant because we choose to be. The coming of Jesus confronts us in our rebellion and forces us to make a choice. We can choose to remain as we are or engage in the process of learning to respond to God’s initiative.

In coming to Christ, we begin the process of learning to choose correctly.