Wednesday, April 18, 2018
Philippians 2:13 for it is God who works in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure.
Psalm 141:3-4 Set a guard, O LORD, over my mouth; keep watch over the door of my lips! 4 Do not let my heart incline to any evil, to busy myself with wicked deeds in company with men who work iniquity, and let me not eat of their delicacies!
When we were without Christ, and living according to the desires of the flesh, our will was self-centered. We made choices based on personal preferences, and we hoped the outcomes would benefit us. But when we came to Christ for salvation and God began His work in us, as we discovered yesterday, our will became subject to His will. This truth adds yet another element of confidence to our lives as we journey towards joy.
To some, God’s work in us can be compared to a potter as he molds clay. Scripture teaches that analogy.
- Isaiah 45:9 Does the clay say to the potter, ’What are you making?’
- Isaiah 64:8 Yet, O LORD, you are our Father. We are the clay, you are the potter; we are all the work of your hand.
- Jeremiah 18:6 Like clay in the hand of the potter, so are you in my hand.
But this comparison is not the complete picture, because to God we are more than just a lump of unresponsive clay. We need to be as surrendered as clay to the will of the Potter, but we are also called to be involved in the process of accomplishing the Potter’s purpose.
The Apostle Paul states that clearly in Philippians 2:13 when he says it is God who works in you to will and to act according to His good purpose. God does more than just shape us and mold us into a vessel He can use: He leaves our will intact so that we can choose to serve Him. We are active participants in accomplishing His purpose.
I met a young man in the hospital one day who didn’t fully understand this. He was brought up in a spiritual tradition that emphasizes the sovereignty and will of God in all things. He believed that we really have nothing to say in any of it. He was enrolling in classes to move from being in the transport department at the hospital to becoming a chaplain. Every statement he made about the plans were always followed with “If it’s God’s will.” He seemed to have no active role in working out God’s will; he was just going through doors that seemed to be open and then hoping that they led to God’s will.
That’s not what the Holy Spirit had in mind when he guided Paul to write Philippians. There is something much more wonderful available to us. We can have the confidence to enter each new day knowing that God not only reveals His will to us but also invites us to join our will with His. He is at work in us to bring our wills into agreement with His will so that our desires become His desires and our choices become His choices.
This brings great confidence to our lives. Not only are we called to be involved in God’s work, but every desire of our heart is transformed by the indwelling work of God so that every activity of our lives is done according to His good purpose.
So today, evaluate the desires of your heart and ask God to continue His work in you so that they become His desires. We need to grow in our understanding that it is more than our wills being subject to His will. God’s work in us is not to subjugate our wills to His but rather to transform our wills so they are one with His. It is a liberating way to live in the total freedom Christ promised when we know that the debate between our wills and His will has ceased, and we are of one mind and heart with Him.
May you know such confidence today.