Paul does not stop there but drives home the point further by saying: 13 for it is God who works in you to will and to act in order to fulfill his good purpose.
As we close our time together, look closely at what Paul reveals about the good work of God in our hearts and lives. He teaches us that “God work in you.” Yes, the fingerprints of God are all over your heart and soul. If you are a child of God, then you can be assured God works IN YOU.
Notice, God works in you “to will and to act.” Paul notes that when God works in our “will” He is at work in our decisions, choices, desires, passions and dreams. You see when God wants to accomplish His purposes in our lives He goes to work in our hearts and minds.
Often when I work with someone who is struggling with what they believe God wants them to do, I ask them a very simple question, “What do you want to do? Where is your passion?” I realize this is not fool-proof, but I also believe this statement that God stirs deep in our hearts and souls what He wants us to do—what He has uniquely designed us to be and do.
However, to create the creative tension of this text, he adds, “God works in you to will and to ACT…” This cause in the text points to our ability or opportunity to carry out the work in our hearts and minds. As a silly example, when I was younger I wanted to be a major league baseball pitcher. I spent hours in the backyard throwing a baseball against the brick wall facing major league batters. The only problem was I could only throw the ball about 60 mph, so I had a change-up, but no fastball, slider or curve. To make the point, I had the “will” to be a major league pitcher, but I did not have the ability therefore, that was NOT God’s will for my life.
Or to look at it another way, years ago, when I was just practically a rookie in ministry a friend of Robyn’s submitted my résumé to be the pastor of the First Baptist Church of Dallas. On this occasion, I thought I had the ability. I was a pastor and a young preacher, but there was one huge problem, they never talked to me, their pulpit committee never came to hear me preach. In fact, I did not even get a “Dear John” letter from them. I wanted to be their pastor, but I did not have the “opportunity” or “open door” to be their pastor.
You see God works on both sides of the equation. He creates and nurtures the desires, dreams and will in our hearts, and on the other side He gifts and guides us toward His good purposes in our lives. We need to learn to live in this tension by faith. Yes, God’s will and direction in our lives is always a “faith” proposition or as Henry Blackaby put it “a crisis of faith.”
Remember our opening observation, “Be patient with me; God is not finished with me yet.” Yes, God is working in you both to will, dream, and choose his good pleasure, and He is also investing in us skills, abilities and opportunities to do what He has created us to do.
Occasionally when I am driving through the city I will see those big orange or yellow signs which read “Men at Work.” Of course it they were honest it should probably read “Man work others watching!” But the real point I am trying to make. When it comes to your heart and soul, you could place a sign out side of your home, bedroom, locker, cubicle, or office the sign with big bold letters so everyone can see “GOD AT WORK” because God is at work today in you so you will become all He longs for you to be.
Who am I? I am a work in progress…Praise the LORD!