“I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing ” (John 15, 5)
St. Paul reinforces this truth by saying: “For it is God who works in you to will and to act in order to fulfil His good purpose.” (Philippians 2, 13)
What seems hard to understand is how Christ may live in me, how can God be in my body and soul? Here’s how St. Paul explains this: “I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me”. (Galatians 2, 20) The Scripture says it very clear: God is within us and without Him we cannot do anything.
St. Gregory Palama said we carry in our soul Gods uncreated energies, and that these energies cannot be separated from Him; therefore God is there, where the energies that come from Him are. The Orthodox Dogmatic Theology tells us the same thing: God is in us and we do everything through Him.
In theory I understand this, but practically, much too little.
Let’s think about how electricity works! Today in the super-tech society we live in, everything needs electricity. Big cities consume huge amounts of energy. Factories, offices, shops, stores and our homes are all built to be able to make use of electric power. Today we drink bottled water, produced with the help of electricity, just like food, the heat in our homes, the clothes we wear, the cars we drive, the hospitals; everything is produced by industrial machines powered by electricity.
Think about it: Any electrical device has everything it needs to operate, all the physical components are present; it’s not missing any parts, everything is in its place, yet without being connected to a power source, it does not work. But when electrical current passes through the device, then, suddenly, it starts working. Something not visible to the human eye must bring the “visible” parts in this device to move.
An external energy is required in order for any electrical device to function properly. Even though it’s the same electrical current, which passes through all kinds of devices, the effects are quite different: when passing through a light bulb, it creates electricity, when passing through a monitor, it displays an image, when passing through an electric heater, it provides heat, when passing through an electric car, it sets the car in motion, etc. It’s the same power, but with totally different results.
Electricity is converted into heat, light, motion, etc. Each electrical device gives the electric current, by the way it was built, a new form. The device absorbs the energy and transforms it into a specific and unique result.
God’s grace works in a similar way in us. We have all the organs to be able to live, we are not lacking anything, but still, a man without his spirit (his soul), when he dies, he is “disconnected” from the power source and stops “functioning”.
We all receive the same grace from God, we all receive the same energy, but the result of our actions is unique, is different from man to man. Each of us is different and, through God’s grace, shows his love differently, lives differently.
God is in us and works within us, not without our will, not automatically but just like electricity that passes through a device. The result depends only on the characteristics of the device and how it handles that current.
God is in us through His grace and gives us life, but the result of our actions depends only on our will, on how we live our life, on the way we co-operate with His grace.
Whether we realize it or not, God is in us, He is our life.
The devices that function with electricity are called electrical devices; they were built to use this kind of energy and only by using it, they will achieve the purpose for which they were created.
The same goes for us, we were created in the image and likeness of God, because we live only by His grace and only through Him we will fulfill the purpose for which we were created: deification.