“Holiness consists in carrying out God’s will with joy. Faithfulness forges saints. . . . The first step toward holiness is the will to attain it. With a will that is whole we love God, we opt for Him, we run toward Him, we reach Him, we possess Him. Often, under the pretext of humility, of confidence, of abandonment, we forget about using our will. But it all depends on these words–I want or I do not want. I have to pour out all my energy into the words ‘I want.’ We cannot decide to become saints without a great effort of renunciation, of resisting temptations, of combat, persecution, and of all sorts of sacrifices. It is not possible to love God except at one’s own expense.” ~*~Mother Teresa of Calcutta~*~

I am doing a Bible Study on Holiness (Courageous Love: A Bible Study on Holiness for Women, by Stacy Mitch) and found this quote in the study guide. I thought it was amazingly profound. But then again, that is usually my reaction to most things Mother Teresa said! Anyway, I think what really struck me was how it stands in such stark contrast to the “Me” Culture of American Christianity. I have never been able to stomach “prosperity” doctrines, which teach that God will bless you financially, physically and spiritually, if you just believe hard enough, pray hard enough, and act Christian enough. Even a cursory glance at history reveals that such a belief is ridiculous!

So I loved what Mother Teresa said about renunciation, resisting temptations, combat, persecution and all sorts of sacrifices. It makes so much more sense to me. And, I also love what she said about forgetting to use our will. I don’t know about anyone else, but I can find a million excuses to not exercise my will in serving God, and why that’s really okay. But in the end, it’s up to me to choose God, to choose holiness. Anything else is really not okay. I’m so glad his mercies are new every morning!!!

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