Our loving God is Sovereign which means He is in total control over everything that is happening. Without forcing anyone, God is always working in us to guide us towards His Plan for us individually, and for us collectively. Listen again to this powerful verse:
“for it is God who works in you to will and to act in order to fulfill His good purpose.” Php 2:13 NIV
As we said last week, the greatest work God does in us is to open our eyes to realize we need Salvation. This takes care of our dead spirits, bringing them to life, once and for all. Next God begins to work on our will. He works in us to want what He wants for us, again individually and collectively. While God has a unique plan for each of us, this plan coordinates with everyone else’s plan. Again think Body here. What happens to the eyes, for instance, affects what happens to the foot. If I can’t see, then my feet will stumble and I will come crashing to the floor! Every part of the Body is affected by every other part of the Body. But let’s focus on God’s individual plan for each of us.
Whose will were we created to live by: “mine” or God’s? I think we would all be quick to agree that we are supposed to follow God’s Will for our lives, not our own. And yet, while we know the “right” answer, do we live that way? Perhaps I am only talking for myself here (but I doubt it), I still struggle daily with following God’s Will for me. I know what He wants, and I also know I “should” want it too, but putting it into practice? Well that’s a whole other story, right? But this is the process we are supposed to enter into after we have been saved. We call it Sanctification. God continues to work in us to will, that is, to want what He wants for us. God continues His work in us by transforming our soul (mind, emotions and will). He renews our mind so we will begin to think like Him more and more. He teaches us to control our emotions so we will stop allowing them to drive us deeper into selfishness. And as I said above, He aligns our will with His Holy Will so that we could want what He wants more than what we used to want. Whew, that’s a lot of “wants” there but I hope you get the drift. These changes are a result of God’s continued work in us.
I remember being rather frustrated with myself some time ago, where deep in my heart I wanted to change, but I simply wasn’t changing (see Ro 7:15 thank You Lord for having the great Paul write that and for putting it in the Bible!) I cried out to God, “Lord, I can’t help it that I was born a sinner!” He sweetly and gently responded with, “You are right, Child. It is not your fault that you were born a sinner, but it is your fault if you remain one!” (see Jn 3:18) God has already done everything, by giving us everything, to make it possible for us to be New in Christ. (see Jn 3:16; 2Co 5:17) And God continues to work in us to change that old fallen nature into this New Creation person we now are in Christ. We must learn to work with Him. Because of The Downfall, we each became self-centered creatures when we were supposed to be God-centered. It takes lots of time, effort and God’s power to get us back into that original state. If you are sincerely born again, awesome! But we must continue to surrender to God with every thought, emotion and decision (will) we make so that His work in us will change us into His Image more and more.
God works in us to will. This is not on our shoulders, my Friends. The only thing we bring into this amazing Sanctification is our willing heart and open mind. God does the rest in us…again, it is God Who works in us. We must have a willing heart because God will not force Himself on us. He is a Gentle God who Loves us, not a dictator who oppresses us! We must choose to want what He wants, first in our heart (spirit) then in our soul (mind, emotions and will). We also need an open mind because, the way God does things and the way we would do them are often as close as the East is from the West! His ways are higher than ours, His thoughts so much greater than ours! (see Isa 55:8-9) Why? Because God sees things from the viewpoint of Eternity while we just have a tiny little, self-centered, earthly view point! He also sees everything through the eyes of Perfect Selfless Love, while we…well, we don’t. Again, we are self-centered creatures being transformed into the God-centered children we were always meant to be. This takes time, effort and God’s power to get us back into that original state.
Choose to work with God Who is working in you. Pray with me: Lord, show me Your Will. Every time I do, life is ssswwweeet! The amount of peace and joy I have are priceless. This sense of contentment, even in the midst of so many challenges, is so amazing it is beyond explanation. It has to be experienced and that is the “why” God is working in us. He Loves us so eternally and Wills for us all to have, enjoy and share this Abundant Life we were always meant to live. Want it? Then won’t you join me?
Until we meet again, keep lifting your eyes to God, He’s closer than you think!
<>< Peace, Diane