We’ve lived in Colorado now for more than twenty years, but I’ve never really learned to snowboard. I mean, I’ve tried. But it was always a messy, hazardous, hesitant affair. Like a dog on roller skates. There wasn’t a lot of joy in it for me. I was tense, apprehensive. My basic problem was this: I couldn’t get myself to commit, to lean into it. You have to lean forward; you have to lean down slope. If you fight that, you end up constantly battling gravity and balance and the downward pull of things. The good riders just go for it—they commit, they lean into it, and off they go. Then comes the joy. I’ve never known that joy.
I’ve watched friends who are surfers, and it’s the same dynamic. There is a moment when you have to commit; you have to go with the wave or not. Yes, there is some paddling on your part, but when the wave picks you up, your choice is to let it, to go with it, to accept its power and let it hurl you forward. You don’t create the wave; the power is utterly beyond you. Once it has you in its mighty grip, your part is to cooperate. Then the beauty comes.
Holiness works the same way.
What I mean is this: The power is not ours. The power comes from God, from the presence of the living Jesus Christ inside us. He is the wave. If we think we have to paddle fast enough to create the entire experience, we will end up frustrated and exhausted from all the striving. The name for that is Religion. God offers something far better: “Let me be the wave.”
"Therefore, my dear friends, as you have always obeyed—not only in my presence, but now much more in my absence—continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who works in you to will and to act according to his good purpose." (Philippians 2:12–13)