For God is working in you, giving you the desire and the power to do what pleases him.
—Philippians 2:13 (NLT)
What a great word! The Holy Spirit not only gives us the capacity to walk in His power but also puts His desire within us. The Holy Spirit is always drawing us toward God’s will. That pleases Him. But it doesn’t just happen. God puts the desire in us, but we must cooperate with Him.
When we believed and accepted Christ, we were spiritually reborn and sealed with the Holy Spirit of promise (Ephesians 1:13). God poured the finished work of Jesus into our born-again spirits. The same power of God that rose Jesus from the dead came to live within us (Romans 8:11), but our naturals minds can’t understand the fullness of God we have received and the truths of the new person we are in Christ (1 Corinthians 2:14, 2 Corinthians 2:17).
We see our faults and our imperfections. How can we be new? We can’t measure up to the righteousness of God. But we are newly reborn spiritually. To experience this new life—for this new birth of righteousness to mold and conform us to God’s image, we must exercise the spiritual mind of Christ that we received when we were born again (1 Corinthians 2:16). We do this by allowing the Holy Spirit to spiritually change our understanding of what Christ has given us and who we are as a result (Romans 12:2).
Jesus has done His part. His work is finished. It is up to us to be renewed in the spirit of our minds and put on the new nature that is ours in Christ (Ephesians 4:23-23). We must believe and appropriate by faith what God's grace has given us. When we believe—when we appropriate by faith what God says about our new identity in Christ, we put on the righteousness that is ours in Him. When we put on our new nature, the flesh is crucified not by any work of righteousness we have done, but according to God’s grace by which He saved us (Titus 3:5).
“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 working within us can only be experienced by faith in Christ. He 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. We yield to the Holy Spirit to understand what we have received in Christ. We take by faith what is ours in Christ. When we cease trusting in ourselves and instead trust the power of God working within us, we work out our salvation.
Submitting to God is allowing the Holy Spirit to work in you. Cooperating with God is agreeing with the truth of your identity in Christ. And it takes effort to know who you are in Christ. We often learn with fear and trembling because we must let go of who we have always believed ourselves to be and step out in faith to grasp the new person we are in Christ.
“His divine power has given to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of Him who called us by glory and virtue” (2 Peter 1:3, NKJV).
God has given us everything we need to live a life that honors Him. He is working within you, my friend, giving you the desire and the power to do what pleases Him. Cooperate with the Holy Spirit. Appropriate by faith what Christ has paid the price for you to have. There is no fullness—there is no righteousness and joy—there is no peace like experiencing Him living within you (Romans 14:17).
You are already filled with all the fullness of God (Colossians 2:9-10). Out of you—springing up in you—will flow rivers of living water (John 7:38). He is Christ in you, the hope of glory (Colossians 1:27). Draw from that well of truth you have already received in His finished work of grace.
© 2023 Lynn Lacher