The very reason that we keep striving for holiness is precisely because we know that God is working in us when we do so. If you knew that God would be at work in you when you are at work, wouldn’t that motivate you to work all the more?
In the beginning, before there was Broadband, there was Dial-Up. And it was very bad.
If, back in 1999, you wanted to watch the trailer for Star Wars Episode 1: The Phantom Menace, and many people did, you couldn’t just hit play on your computer, watch it, and then get on with your life like it was no biggie. Your state of the art 56k dial-up modem, with its top speeds of, well much less than 56k, meant that you had to wait. And wait. And there was nothing you could do to help it along. I literally went to bed for eight hours in the hope that it might be waiting for me in the morning.
This very passive and unsatisfactory state of affairs is my way of raising the topic of Quietism, which as a way of thinking, is more popular today than you might expect. Quietism says there’s nothing you can do to move your sanctification along. God does the work in you, and so you should just calmly wait and be passive in the process.
In recent years, there’ve been some high profile examples of this. Reacting against what they see as legalism or moralism – the call to “do more, try harder” in the Christian life – some teachers have swung so far the other way that they’ve effectively taught people there’s no need for a Christian to do anything at all. In a nutshell, stop thinking about what you ought to do, and reflect only on what Jesus has already done on your behalf.
Quietism has its roots in a 17th Century Roman Catholic movement. It’s most associated with a Spanish priest called Miguel de Molinos, a French mystic called Madame Guyon, and a French Archbishop and writer called Francois Fenelon.