The Apostle Paul gives every Christian believer a great promise and assurance in Philippians 2:13. “God works in you both to will and to do for His good pleasure.” Yet probably every one of us is now dealing with or has faced a situation in which we ask God, “WHY?” Realizing God is all powerful and this is His world moving toward His coming, we often ask WHY or wonder what will happen. We need more attention on WHO rather than why. The Lord God works to help us do His will. His desire is for us to live by faith and discover “His good pleasure.”
The Lord doesn’t cause everything that happens to us. The Apostle Paul reminds us that we live “in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation” (v.15). Satan is at work. Sin is present. Unbelievers are at work and seek to influence us to live as they do. We have a physical body that is susceptible to disease, accidents, age. We make decisions that sometimes prove wrong. The Lord created us with freedom and we can’t blame Him for all that happens in our lives. Yet He does work in us seeking our commitment to do His will.
How are we to experience God’s work in us? Paul tells us to obey God’s will (v.12)—even when the preacher is absent. All who have repented of sin and confessed Jesus as Lord of their life must obey God’s will. His will becomes known as we daily surrender to the leadership of the Holy Spirit, through prayer, and obeying God’s word.
God works in us as we “work out your salvation (v. 12b). We are not saved by our works but a saved person has God’s will, mission, and work to do through the church. We are not saved to sit on the sidelines and watch others do the work. The Lord doesn’t call everyone to be a preacher or a missionary but He does call all who are saved to do His work to change the world.
We are also to live and work for Christ with the right lifestyle. Paul warns us about to be “without complaining and disputing… blameless and harmless… without fault” (v14-15). This is not a perfect person—none of us are perfect! But we must evaluate our anticipated actions to be sure they are consistent with God’s will and Word.
We must not allow those without Christ to influence us the wrong way (v. 15). We live in the “midst of a crooked and perverse generation” We must be a light to them rather than let them lead us into darkness. Their influence can be subtle and appear right at first. Be careful with whom you allow to influence your decisions of living.
God will work in us if we “Hold fast the word of life” (v.16). We need more involvement with God’s word than in Sunday School. Unfortunately, many church members are not in Sunday School. Do you read and seek to hear the Lord in a daily encounter with the Bible?
Remember the influence of those who shared Christ with you. Verses 16-18 describe the blessed influence Paul had on these Philippians. He challenged them to live so that his influence and help would not be in vain. I still remember and treasure the influence of Mrs. Beckner, my Sunday School teacher, and Bro. Bryant Houchens, the pastor who baptized me as a teenager. My faithfulness to Christ now is a testimony of their life and influence. When possible we should “rejoice and be glad” with mentors in Christ.
What a wonderful assurance: “God works in you both to will and to do for His good pleasure.” Will we allow Him to work in us? Are we committed to His will? Are we more focused on Him and His grace rather than why something is happening?