Resource for Obedience

It is God who is at work in you, both to will and to work for His good pleasure.
–Philippians 2:13

In Philippians 2:13, Paul reminded us that we have a supernatural resource for obedience: “It is God who is at work in you, both to will and to work for His good pleasure.” Notice there are two workers in this passage. In Philippians 2:12, we are to “work out [our] salvation.” But while we are working it out, God is working in us.

God right now is giving you two things. First of all, He gives you the desire to do His will. Do you want to know God’s will for your life? Do you long to have victory over sin? Those desires didn’t come from yourself. In fact, our natural desires are opposite of God’s. If you desire to please God, then God has placed that desire in you.

God also gives you the power to work for His good pleasure. Let me illustrate that for you. You may be reading this in a room with electric lights. What powers those lights? Somewhere, the power company has a generator. But you would be in the dark without the power lines that carry electricity to the lights around you. It’s the same way in our lives. God has given every Christian the Holy Spirit, generating the desire and ability to obey God. But something has to connect God’s power to every area of your life.

The first power line God uses to transfer His power to our lives is His Word. In 1 Thessalonians 2:13, Paul reminded the Thessalonians that God was doing a supernatural work in them through God’s Word: “We also constantly thank God that when you received the word of God which you heard from us, you accepted it not as the word of men, but for what it really is, the word of God, which also performs its work in you who believe.” Do you long to see God work supernaturally in your life? One way that God’s power flows into your life and does a work in your life is through the Word of God.

The second power line is prayer. Paul wrote in Romans 8:26-27, “We do not know how to pray as we should, but the Spirit Himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words . . . He intercedes for the saints according to the will of God.” When we pray, in some mysterious way, God’s desires become our desires. That clears the way for His power to become our power.

You see what is going on here in Philippians 2:12-13? We are to work out our salvation knowing that God is working in us. Justification, being made right with God, is God’s work alone. But sanctification, our becoming more like Christ through obedience to Him, is a joint effort between God and us. It is God who is working in you to give you the power and the desire to accomplish His purpose.


Today’s devotion is excerpted from “Godly Living in a Godless World” by Dr. Robert Jeffress, 2007.

Scripture quotations are taken from the NEW AMERICAN STANDARD BIBLE®, Copyright © 1960, 1962, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission.


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