GOD WORKS THROUGH US
“For it is God who is at work in you, enabling you both to will and to work for His good pleasure”. Phil. 2:13 NRSV
In Paul’s epistle to the Philippians, which he wrote while imprisoned in Rome, he expressed his appreciation to the believers in Philippi for their gift, and he encouraged and strengthened them with his assurance that genuine joy emanates from Jesus Christ alone. He emphasized his conviction that the Christian life is a partnership with God through the indwelling of the Holy Spirit.
In our text, Philippians 2:13, Paul advised the believers that God was constantly working in them to inspire them to will, envisage, dream, and plan for the good things, things that please God. Yes! When we open our innermost being to the promptings of the indwelling Spirit of God, we become vessels, instruments in God’s hands. The Holy Spirit will cause the believer to decide what is best, and what will glorify God. The Holy Spirit will subsequently enable the believer to work towards the realization of that desire.
So, God puts in us a desire to do things that are excellent and praiseworthy, and then enables us to accomplish what we desire.
Friends, think about it: all too often some persons strive to be Christians, or endeavor to be good persons, by their own strength and effort. This often leads to failures, blunders, disappointments, frustrations, and cynicism. It is no wonder that so many of us who embark upon the Christian pathway soon surrender, recant, or backslide. My Dear Brothers and Sisters, we cannot run the Christian race in our own strength. We simply cannot!
Today, I encourage us to pause, realize, acknowledge, and affirm that the Christian life is a partnership with God. God calls us into partnership, a relationship. God is the Initiator and the Source of all that is good, and so followers of “the Way, the Truth, and the Life” — Jesus Christ — must learn to relax in the assurance that our God is at work in and through us. God helps us to want to obey Him, and then gives us the power to do what He wants. Yes! The secret to a changed and exciting life is to submit to God’s control and to let God do His work in and through us.
Let’s face the simple, hard, but profound fact, that God never created us and placed us in this world to struggle all by ourselves. If that thought ever invades your consciousness, you must expunge, extinguish it instantly! God is working His purposes out.
As followers of Jesus, and as mortals in this transient world, we struggle with many issues. Some of us have gone to God in earnest prayer for an end to the Covid-19 pandemic. We have seen, felt, and heard how this deadly virus has contributed to the demise of millions, and how it is causing division and divisiveness in churches, families, educational institutions, and communities. We desire and pray for this terrible affliction to end, and for God to help us overcome it.
We want, and plead with God for, an end to domestic violence, human trafficking, exploitation and inhumane treatment, sexual abuse, and papedophilia. We desire, and are praying for, the elimination of destitution and avarice; for the creation of greater community spirit and neighborliness; for God’s will to be done on earth as it is in heaven. Where did these noble desires come from? From God. It is God who has implanted these desires in our hearts, and it is God who is working through us to realize these desires.
God is working His purpose out as year succeeds to year. Do you believe, like me, that God answered the prayers of the faithful, and has led scientists to create vaccines, in rapid, record time, to mitigate the spread of Covid-19, protect individuals, facilitate face-to-face learning, and ease the pressure on our frontline workers? God is working though us in amazing ways. Recognizing this, Charles Wesley wrote:
My every weak, though good design,
O’errule, or change, as seems Thee meet;
Jesus, let all my work be Thine!
Thy work, O Lord, is all complete,
And pleasing in Thy Father’s sight;
Thou only hast done all things right.
The wise man therefore said that in all our ways and efforts we must trust and acknowledge God, and God will direct our paths.
Thought: God is working in us, but it’s not a one-size-fits-all situation.
Prayer: For the willingness to allow God to create the desire in us, and use us to realize that desire.
Bishop, The Rev’d Everald L. Galbraith
President of Conference