Simone Weil suggested that the Christian experience has been contaminated by her enemies such that we conflate the search for God with muscular willpower. The Bible promises that if you search for God with all your heart, then you shall find him (Jeremiah 29:13 and Deuteronomy 4:29), but this searching implies not so much willpower as an orientation, a leaning toward, or a pressing toward God with the desires but certainly not a checklist of holy actions.
God tells us to meditate on his words day and night (Psalm 1:2 and Joshua 1:8) and this full absorption with God is what promises great reward. Start with listening, leaning, meditating day and night; holy living will follow. If you start with holy living being a checklist, obtaining the reward is no guarantee. This, my friends, is the essence of faith. Faith is not merely an intellectual affair, it is the whole person’s encounter with the hidden God requiring an engagement of the mind, the heart, the will, the body, the imagination, and the soul.
If Hans Urs Von Balthasar is correct in saying that only God can recognize God–we are too mortal and too corrupted by sin–then faith is nothing but God in us recognizing himself and inclining us toward him. It is God who seeks man muscularly, he who does all the real labor, even the hard work of softening the heart. Our job is to attend and silence the cacophony in our heart. Our muscular willpower is demanded not so much for faith as for the product of faith, the enfleshing of that faith in the creative work we are called to finish.