November 22, 2020
- By Ed Powell
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"It is God who works in you to will and to act according to his good purpose."
It is God who draws us to Himself and initiates our salvation through Jesus Christ. Also, in our spiritual journey God initiates our growth in grace that we might be vessels of honor and glorify His name in all that we do.
Why do we think we can build on our natural virtues to do or be anything that will be acceptable to God? We fail to realize that all we are has been corrupted by sin. When we receive Jesus Christ as our Savior we become a new creature in Christ. God does not build upon what virtues we have, for no virtues we have can meet the demands or standard God demands.
God creates us from the inside out. He takes our old life, stained with sin, and gives us His life that will enable us to do and be what will be pleasing to Him and a testimony to His love and grace. He invades our life with a hunger and thirst "to be conformed to the image of His Son." The natural is made supernatural by the might of His power. Our supernatural nature, which He has implanted in us, responds to His will in simple obedience because it is His life living in us.
Let me explain further. What used to be unappealing and to our dislike, now is the joy of our heart and the fulfillment of our life. Before we were saved we didn't enjoy or relish what now is the bent of our heart. We now respond naturally to the supernatural nature that indwells our life. All the virtues we now possess are what God has put within us. They now respond in harmony to the desires of Him who has given to us this new created nature. The whole focus of our life now centers in Christ, whereas before, our life was controlled by, and sought to satisfy, our self-centered ego and pride, which seeks the lusts of the flesh and the gratification of man. Now, "It is God who works in you to will and to act according to His purpose."
Our life has made a radical change. His life now dwells within us to respond to His leading, to impress upon us His will and create within our hearts a desire to act according to His plan and purpose. What a reversal to our former life. Our whole perspective on life has changed. Our purpose, motives, desires, disposition, in fact, the whole of our life now seeks to magnify Him. God continually works in our hearts, breaking down our old nature that insists on dragging us down to our old way and old habits. Paul says we must mortify the old man and "put on the new man which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness" (Ephesians 4:24).
We do not automatically become mature in our faith or walk. This is a becoming process where we begin to see the many things in our old nature that are displeasing and dishonoring to Christ. Isaiah cried out, "I will greatly rejoice in the LORD, my soul shall be joyful in my God, for He hath clothed me with the garments of salvation, He hath covered me with the robe of righteousness..." (Isaiah 61:10).
As we surrender our will to His will, God begins to mold our lives and instill in us the virtues of Christ. How true the song..."Turn your eyes upon Jesus, look full in His wonderful face, and the things of earth will grow strangely dim, in the light of His glory and grace." The more we focus on Christ, the more He will manifest His life in us that we may be "conformed to the image of His Son." This is His working, not ours. Be receptive and responsive to the Holy Spirit, "for it is God who works in you to will and to act according to His good purpose" (Philippians 2:13).
© 2007 by Ed Powell. Used by permission.
This page was reprinted by permission from: http://litmin.org/dare.php=1&row=&date=2020-11-22
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