No shortcuts

I found these seemingly random quotes written down on a single piece of paper on my (shockingly cluttered  – well, at least it would be shocking if it weren’t completely normal for me, sigh) desk:

Seth Godin: “Don’t fall in love with proxy measurements. Gaming the system is never the goal. The goal is the goal.”

Pete Wilson: “You can’t microwave spiritual formation.”

Thomas Merton: “In the spiritual life there are no shortcuts. Those who imagine that they can discover spiritual gimmicks and put them to work for themselves usually ignore God’s will and his grace.”

Dave Schmelzer: “The Holy Spirit is like soft rain on a hard sponge.”

(Sorry, I have no references.)

Yesterday I talked about the convergence of hard work and the miraculous. The first place this convergence must occur is within the self. Spiritual formation requires both a miraculous transformation that is quite beyond our capability and also a great deal of hard work over a long period of time. Both elements – miracle and work  – are absolutely necessary for you to develop spiritual maturity, to grow in character, to live up to your great potential as a human being and a bearer of the divine image. You can live an amazing life filled with power to heal and transform yourself and others. God wants such a life for each of us. I see no reason to settle for anything less.