(Lead me) irresistibly,
To ask that the Lord’s leading be irresistible is not to engage in the well-worn theological debates between Augustine and Pelagius, or Calvin and Arminius. I leave such debates to theologians who punch above my weight-class. Rather it is to ask that God lead us in paths so obviously virtuous that we are drawn naturally to the light and life offered.
The Gospel according to John speaks about our inclination to refuse our Lord when he comes to us:
John 1:6-11 There was a man sent from God, whose name was John. He came as a witness to testify to the light, so that all might believe through him. He himself was not the light, but he came to testify to the light. The true light, which enlightens everyone, was coming into the world.
He was in the world, and the world came into being through him; yet the world did not know him. He came to what was his own, and his own people did not accept him. [NRSV]
Lent, with its clear-eyed view of our propensity to reject the life God offers in favor of some other life, is a good time to pray that God’s grace be irresistible to us. That we see in God’s unmerited benevolence a pathway to the good life. The poetry of several hymns comes to mind. Amazing Grace of course. But also Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing:
“Oh to grace how great debtor daily I’m constrained to be,
Let that grace now, like a fetter, bind my wandering heart to Thee.
Prone to wander, Lord, I feel it. Prone to leave the God I love.
Take my heart, oh take and seal it. Seal it for Thy courts above!
Robert Robinson, 1758
As we make our way through Lent, we have a bit more light each day — a gentle reminder that we are intended to live in the light and life of Christ which also is growing within us. Keeping a holy Lent, through prayer, fasting, and generosity (and other such disciplines) is a way to tending the fire within so that the flame of God’s love burns brightly.