Forgoing the Pious Self

In his book, Life Together, Dietrich Bonhoeffer writes:

First, we must completely forget how to say, “I will,” until God, through the Holy Spirit, teaches us to say it in a new and right way. It is precisely in matters of piety that “I will” can wreak the greatest havoc: “I will be godly, I will be holy, I will keep the commandments.” We must first have a basic understanding that in these things, it is not our will but God’s will alone that matters. We must also forgo our pious self, so that God can do his work in us. Otherwise our “I will” will almost certainly be followed by bankruptcy. But when through God’s grace we have stopped saying, “I will,” when through God’s new beginning with us in Jesus Christ we have been brought onto his path—in spite of our “I will” and “I won’t”—then the Holy Spirit begins to speak in us, and we say something quite new and different from our previous “I will.” 

The desire for one’s own honor hinders faith. One who seeks his own honor is no longer seeking God and his neighbor. What does it matter if I suffer injustice? 

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