A farmer plows his field, sows the seed, and fertilizes and cultivates—all the while knowing that in the final analysis he is utterly dependent on forces outside of himself. He knows he cannot cause the seed to germinate, nor can he produce the rain and sunshine for growing and harvesting the crop.
For a successful harvest, he is dependent on these things from God. Yet the farmer knows that unless he diligently pursues his responsibilities to plow, plant, fertilize, and cultivate, he cannot expect a harvest at the end of the season. In a sense he is in a partnership with God, and he will reap its benefits only when he has fulfilled his own responsibilities.
Farming is a joint venture between God and the farmer. The farmer cannot do what God must do, and God will not do what the farmer should do.
– Jerry Bridges, Pursuit of Holiness
In my opinion, the analogy given above is an accurate reflection of the tension between our responsibility in relationship with God and the part God plays. It paints a practical picture of Phil 2:12-13
Therefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, so now, not only as in my presence but much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who works in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure.
Therefore there is an ownership dimension to our walk with God. There is a responsibility that we are to take on and in love, God will not do it for us. We are to do this. It is part of what builds us into Christlikeness, into union with the Triune God.
Inasmuch as we avoid this responsibility, there can be no true transformation into Christlikeness.
Grace is not opposed to effort, it is opposed to earning. Grace is not opposed to action, it is opposed to attitude. It is true that without God we can do nothing but you must also realize that if you do nothing, it will be without God. (Dallas Willard)
We are not waiting for God or grace. God is waiting for us. His grace, which is God coming to help us do what we cannot by ourselves do, is more than enough and in abundant supply.
May we truly be with him as he is with us. Amen