One of the things that seems hardest to accept about our faith is that we can do nothing to earn it or achieve it on our own. In a world that focuses on success and accomplishment, it seems difficult to understand that one of our greatest attributes, faith, is purely a gift and we can't do anything about it.
In relationship to this theological idea, I've been considering the images of the vine and the branches (John 15:5) and the potter and the clay (Isaiah 64:8).
Branches do not grow on their own; they are fed from the main vine and they grow reaching out to other branches and into the larger world. We understand God to be the giver of all gifts- feeding us from the Word and at the table (the Lord's Supper). The Spirit intercedes in our prayers and is our advocate in all places. God, our Maker, Redeemer and Sustainer is the vine that gives us life and sends us spiraling out beyond our roots to new places where we can flourish. No more can we do this on our own, without God, than could the branches grow without the vine.
So too clay is nothing but formless and void of meaning without a potter, Someone to give shape and meaning to the medium. A potter gives direction to the clay: depth, height and purpose. God gives us gifts, physical, mental and spiritual, so that we might understand the depth, height and purpose of God's love for us and for all of creation. We cannot do that for ourselves, independent of God, anymore than the clay can make it happen of its own accord.
I hope that thinking of God as the Source of your being and all beings today will bring an interesting thought to your mind. I'm grateful for the way I see my life being shaped and for how I've been brought to new growth with all the other vines around me.