Monday, February 24, 2020
Working Within Us Both to Will and To Do
"For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure." (Philippians 2:13)
This passage may strike some people as too metaphyiscal to be practical.
For more, this verse makes more sense than I could have ever imagined.
God is real, outside of me, yet living within me:
"To whom God would make known what is the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles; which is Christ in you, the hope of glory:" (Colossians 1:27)
Christ is not just present within us, but He is our "hope of glory". We can rest confident that He is invested and determined to grant us His glory.
Paul writes that we "reign in life" through Christ Jesus! (Romans 5:17)
He is very much in and around me. He is at work, and He is actively working within me.
God is not interested in making us do things that we do not want to do. He gives us the desire, and He gives us the ability.
It's not a lazy life, but a dynamic life, because He is our life (Colossians 3:4).
The issue for me was that I used to think that my bad thoughts, my bad feelings were putting God away from me. I thought for the longest time that I was responsible to clean out, get rid of bad thoughts, bad feelings so that God could flow through me.
Yet all this time, God's love for me was lavish, strong, rushing through me, regardless of how I felt, and it did not depend on me one bit. I have been made the righteousness of God in Christ Jesus (2 Corinthians 5:21) because of all that He has done.
It's not my job to keep God close to me. It's not my job to ward off fears and worries. It's my job to rest in Him.
No wonder the writer of Hebrews declares to his Jewish brethren:
"Let us labour therefore to enter into that rest, lest any man fall after the same example of unbelief." (Hebrews 4:11)
I used to wonder, to worry, to wander around in these weird thoughts, these fearful premonitions which used to test me, to press on me, and ultimately distracted me for so long from the truth.
For the longest time, I was egged on by these inner tensions.
It's only now, only NOW that I realize how present, how real, how loving, how precious my Jesus is. He is just wonderful! He is altogether lovely, and He has indeed taken care of everything for me.
There is no reason for me to plot and play on my own, as though He is not watching out for me.
Jesus' words mean so much more to me now:
"But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you." (Matthew 6:33)
I have His Kingdom within me today:
"For the kingdom of God is not meat and drink; but righteousness, and peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost." (Romans 14:17)
It's no a longer a life of demands, but a life of grace, resting in His flow, and allowing Him to carry me where He wishes to carry me.
He is indeed working within me. There is no longer a need to challenge or worry about whether I am being led astray. I understand now the mistakes that I had made in the past, the misunderstandings which had been prevalent in my life.
God is in the business of providing me everything. He will never be angry with me again, or rebuke me (Isaiah 54:9). When He disciplines me, it is so that I will rest more in Him and receive more from Him:
"Now no chastening for the present seemeth to be joyous, but grievous: nevertheless afterward it yieldeth the peaceable fruit of righteousness unto them which are exercised thereby." (Hebrews 12:11)
Peaceable fruit of righteousness comes as a result of God's grace flowing in our lives.
Today, I no longer pay attention to the nagging fears and worries. I don't wonder about tomorrow, because I know that He is mapped everything for my good:
"Declaring the end from the beginning, and from ancient times the things that are not yet done, saying, My counsel shall stand, and I will do all my pleasure:" (Isaiah 46:10)
"And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose." (Romans 8:28)
All those feelings, hurts, wonders, worries--none of that was mine, none of that pertained to me, none of that belonged to me. The shames, the lusts, the temptations, none of that belongs to me, none of that has anything to do with me.
No wonder Paul could write so definitively:
"Likewise reckon ye also yourselves to be dead indeed unto sin, but alive unto God through Jesus Christ our Lord." (Romans 6:11)
Wow! What a life this is! It's His Life, and it is grand! He is working within me, He is working in and around me, and because He is working, I flow with Him!