GOD PROMISES TO USE YOU
Continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who works in you to will and to act according to his good purpose. Philippians 2:12-13
Paul thanked the Philippians for their faithfulness to God and encouraged them to stay faithful because what was happening was really God working through them. He wants them to remember that the good we do comes from God working in us and it isn’t something we should take credit of for ourselves. He gets all the glory. When we take credit for what He does, we are stealing His glory and that is something we should never do.
It is naturally for us to take credit for the good we do and to blame others, sometimes even God Himself, for the bad we do. The truth is that we should give God credit for anything good that comes from us and take full blame for the bad.
Paul further says God works in us to “will” and to “act.” He puts a desire for godliness in us so we choose (“will”) to do good, then He gives us the strength to carry out that desire (“act”). It’s humbling to remember that we wouldn’t even desire to do good if we were just operating by our old sin nature. Unbelievers can do human good, but nothing that counts in God’s sight because God doesn’t look at the act. He looks at the motive behind it. Unless we are motivated by love for Him and the desire to please Him, any human good we do is wood, hay and stubble and will not last in His sight (1 Corinthians 3:10-15).
The final part of this special promise is that all God works in us is for “His good purpose.” Often, we ask Him to bless our plans or bring about our desires. We are to do what He wants, not try to get Him to do what we want (“Your kingdom come, Your will be done” Matthew 6:10). We are to daily live in faithfulness to Him (“continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling”). That doesn’t mean a smooth and easy life, though. His “good purpose” for us is to become more Christlike in all we say and do (Romans 8:28-29). And that process is slow and painful.
God had a plan and purpose for Ruth’s life and He worked in her and through her to bring it about. He was working even when she was a young widow in a foreign land. God’s plan was for her to be the great-grandmother of King David and have the Messiah as one of her descendants. (book of Ruth)
God also worked in Abigail’s life. She was in a very difficult marriage to a cruel man, Nabal. She faithfully followed God’s leading in her life and he used her to help David and eventually become his wife (1 Samuel 25). God promises to work in us to use us for His glory as well. He will make us like Christ and through us to do His will on earth.
Sometimes we feel useless and want to quit, but remember His promise. It doesn’t just depend on us to grow and serve Him, He is behind it all working in us when we let Him. What better goal can we have for life as we start each new day.
Spend some time thinking of the good He has done through your life and how He is using you now. Thank Him for it.