God Working Within Us

Posted on October 19, 2012 by Dr. Jerry Rankin in Devotional Reflections

“For I am confident of this very thing, that He who began a good work in you will perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus.” Philippians 1:6

Intercessory prayer is probably our most common category of supplication. Laying our own personal needs and concerns before the Father takes priority, but praying for family and the needs of those who are sick and dealing with problems consumes most of the time we spend in prayer. Paul prayed with joy as he remembered and thanked God for fellow believers and those in various churches who labored with him in the gospel.

“I thank my God in all my remembrance of you, always offering prayer with joy in my every prayer for you all, in view of your participation in the gospel from the first day until now” (Phil. 1:3-5).

While he prayed for their needs and the trials they were going through, rejoiced in their faithful service and praised God for their encouragement to him, his primary focus was expressing confidence that God was working in their lives. This prayer in Philippians 1:6 reminds us that God is working in us as well.

The Scripture often refers to our salvation as God’s salvation. It is He that saved us through His redemptive work on the cross. It is His Spirit that convicts us of sin and the truth of the gospel. He is the one that gifts us with the faith to believe; it is the power of His Spirit working through the gospel that draws us to Him and makes us a new creature in Christ. But God doesn’t stop working in our lives once we are born again and assured of eternal life.

He continues to take initiative and works through every circumstance to conform us to the image of His Son and guide us in obedience to His will. He is using every trial and temptation to grow us in faith, learning from our failures how to depend on Him rather presuming to do it ourselves. He keeps moving us toward maturity, stimulating the appropriation of a more victorious life until Christ returns.

In Paul’s prayer he goes on to describe what the objective of this work of God in our life looks like. In verse 9 he prays “that our love may abound more and more,” and that we “have real knowledge and discernment.” If we are to be all that God wants us to be we cannot function on self-centered presumptions; we need God’s wisdom to be discerning. There is always room for growth in the experiential knowledge of knowing Christ in a deeper, more intimate relationship.

We are to “approve things that are excellent,” opting for God’s values, “in order to be sincere and blameless” (verse 10). God doesn’t tolerate pretense, nor justification of attitudes and behavior less than a reflection of His holiness. Our reputation is to be without blame.

But all of this accrues to works of righteousness. The goal of holiness and piety is to be lived out in practical fruit. We are members of the body of Christ and He is seeking to carry on His work through us. “Having been filled with the fruit of righteousness which comes through Jesus Christ, to the glory and praise of God” (verse 11). We should keep this in perspective–all that God is seeking to do in our lives is not just for our blessing and benefit but for His glory and praise.

It is sad that many Christians are satisfied to be saved and never grow in the their faith, their relationship with God and in equipping for effective service. God is at work in our lives for the purpose of our becoming all that He intends for us to be and to live in a way that glorifies Him. That was Paul’s prayer for his friends and colleagues and reflects God’s desire for us as well.

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