Monday, April 16, 2018
Philippians 2:13 …for it is God who works in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure.
Hebrews 13:20 – 21 20May the God of peace, who through the blood of the eternal covenant brought back from the dead our Lord Jesus, that great Shepherd of the sheep, 21equip you with everything good for doing his will, and may he work in us what is pleasing to him, through Jesus Christ, to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen.
Now for the rest of the story: three young men armed with knives have backed my two younger brothers and I up against a wall in an alley in downtown St. Paul following a high school hockey game. We are scared to the point of trembling, not knowing what they wanted. It was a holiday tournament being held during the Christmas break from school, and that’s why we were allowed to be out late at night. I really don’t remember if I prayed or not, but like Paul and Silas in prison I did sing. Not because I wanted to, but because that’s what the armed men wanted us to do. They told us that if we would sing them a Christmas carol, they would let us go. I sang “Joy To The World” with all of my heart, especially emphasizing the next line – “The Lord is come.” When we were done, they asked us to sing one more. I started singing “Silent Night,” and there really was a calm that came over the situation. They let us go. We walked briskly to our car, and once inside with the doors locked, we determined to never tell mom and dad what had happened.
In Philippians 2:12-13, Paul tells us to work out our salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who works in you. When my brothers and I were left to work out our own rescue, we were filled with fear and trembling because we knew we were powerless to change our situation. But when God came into the situation, everything changed.
We are not left to fend for ourselves after we have received Jesus as our Savior: God’s work has just begun. Remember what Paul said earlier in Philippians – He who began a good work in you will carry it out to completion until the day of Christ Jesus. God is at work in each of us so that we can do His will and act according to His good purpose.
There are three things in the two passages of Scripture printed above that encourage us:
- God’s presence changes our will (Phil. 2:13a). In other words, when we are saved, He gives us a whole new set of “want-to’s.” His abiding presence in us creates a desire to know and do His will. He transforms our wills so that they are Christ-centered and not self-centered. God’s work in us makes us want to do God’s work.
- God’s grace gives us everything we need to do His will (Heb. 13:21). We have been blessed with every spiritual blessing from above (Eph. 1:3) so that we might be fully equipped to accomplish His purpose. He has given us every resource we need in the Holy Spirit and His Word to serve Him faithfully.
- God’s power enables us to move from knowledge to action. It’s not enough to know God’s will and have the resources to accomplish God’s will: we have the power to DO God’s will. Every choice we make and every action we take can be pleasing to Him and be in accordance with His divine purpose.
The fear that has gripped you because of the current situation in which you find yourself does not have to control you. Yes, we are weak and helpless, but we are not alone and hopeless. God is at work in you. He is accomplishing His glorious purpose. He will finish His work, and it will be good! We can experience His goodness if we join Him in His work, rather than asking Him to join ours. Let Him change your will, and you’ll discover the resources to accomplish His will. Let’s get to work – His work!