When it comes to our salvation we all wrestle with finding the appropriate harmony of powerful divine grace and appropriate human response. As we engage in this wrestling match every day we are trying to avoid the extremes. Only the staunchest legalist would claim that human beings can save themselves. Likewise only the most brazen libertine would claim that nothing human beings do has any effect on whom God saves. We know the objective is a harmonious communion between the divine and the human elements of salvation—we just don’t know how to live there consistently.

As we continue to wrestle with this notoriously difficult concept, I want to remind us that the life skill we are trying to learn is NOT how to resist evil more effectively. As I understand the Bible and the history of our race, our fleshly nature, our fallen environment, and our powerful enemy all combine to make resisting evil humanly impossible. We simply cannot overcome evil on our own power; we must learn to fully depend upon God and His grace to protect us from evil.

Reflecting on the Classical Spiritual Disciplines allows us to see how they can help us discipline ourselves to depend upon God. Take the Discipline of Service for example. “Nothing disciplines the inordinate desires of the flesh like service, and nothing transforms the desires of the flesh like serving in hiddenness. The flesh whines against service but screams against hidden service.” (Richard Foster, Celebration of Discipline, 130).

I challenge each of us to do some reading on the Classical Spiritual Discipline of Service. If you don’t know where to begin shoot me an email; I have a good Bibliography that will provide you with some good sources. As you read, mediate on how true service can discipline the flesh, transform its desires, and force us to depend upon God.

I also challenge each of us to engage in at least one act of service this Holiday Season. Don’t do it because you are “a nice person” (that would be self-righteous service) but, rather, do it as an act of spiritual discipline. Do it quietly, secretly, and selflessly. Do it expecting to be transformed by the act. Do it in order to grow in the grace of humility. Do it to glorify your Father in heaven.