For God is working in you, giving you the desire and the power to do what pleases him.
—Philippians 2:13 (NLT)
What an amazing word! The Holy Spirit not only gives us the ability to walk in His power but also puts the desire within us to do what pleases Him. The Holy Spirit is always drawing us toward God’s will. But it doesn’t just happen. God puts the desire in us, but we must surrender and cooperate with Him.
When we believed in Christ, we were spiritually reborn and sealed with the Holy Spirit of promise (Ephesians 1:13). God poured the complete and finished work of Jesus into our born-again spirits. And the same power of God that rose Christ from the dead came to live within us (Romans 8:11). But we have to allow what we have received in Christ to change our understanding—the way we think (Romans 12:2). Jesus has done His part. It is up to us to believe and appropriate what Christ has given us by grace. Our minds and bodies must yield to the nature of God that we have received.
“Therefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling” (Philippians 2:12, NKJV).
Salvation is the gift of God that can only be received by faith in Christ (Ephesians 2:8-9). The Holy Spirit stirs within us the desire to take our salvation to its greatest potential—that is to be more like Christ. Philippians 2:13 reveals there is a divine power that motivates us and is able to achieve God’s purpose within us. This calls for our response— to work out our salvation. We don’t work to be saved, and we don't work to keep our salvation. We work—we diligently persevere to understand what we have received in Christ. When we cease from trusting in ourselves and instead trust the power of God at work within us, we work out our salvation.
Surrendering to God is allowing God to work in us. Cooperating with God is allowing Him to guide us into His truth. And it takes effort on our part to work out our understanding of what we have received in Christ. Often, it is with fear and trembling because we must let go of who we have always believed we were and step out in faith to grasp the new person that we are now in Christ.
Surrender your preconceptions and rationalizations to God. Open your spiritual mind to receive the Word, and allow the Holy Spirit to teach you (1 Corinthians 2:14, John 14:16). Allow Him to reveal the truth of the new creation you are in Christ (2 Corinthians 5:17). He is working in you, giving you the desire and the power to do what pleases Him. And when you cooperate with the Holy Spirit allowing Him to guide you into God’s truth, His power flows through you into the lives of others.
© 2022 Lynn Lacher