In Praise of the God Who Works In Us and Through Us

It is God who works in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure. Phil. 2:13 (NIV) 

But by the grace of God I am what I am, and his grace to me was not without effect. No, I worked harder than all of them—yet not I, but the grace of God that was with me. 1 Cor. 15:10 (NIV) 

The Lord will fulfill his purpose for me; your steadfast love, O Lord, endures forever. Psalm 138:8 (ESV)

     Dear heavenly Father, what peace and joy we have through Jesus. Your grace is freeing us from being concerned about merit or deserving, personal failure or self-aggrandizement. For the gospel has “trashed” every notion of performance-based earning, as the motivation for our obedience. Because of Jesus’ bold declaration, “It is finished,” we now do our good works in response to his perfect work.

     And Father, thank you for the “inside job” you’re accomplishing in us. Not only are you seeing to it that we work for your good pleasure, you’re actually giving us the will to do so. Such good news doesn’t make us passive, but active. The focus is on Jesus, not us. We matter, but we’re not the point. Hallelujah!

     Father, to whatever extent you’ve already accomplished anything through us that’s been of eternal consequence, we gladly affirm with Paul, it wasn’t us, but “the grace of God that was with me.” And looking ahead, our prayer remains the same. May your grace have even greater effect, in us and through us—wherever we live, work, and play. Free us to love your name and glory more than our reputation and comfort. May life in your transforming kingdom trump every concern to advance our tiny fiefdoms of personal peace and gain.

     Because of your “steadfast love,” we want the rest of our days to be marked risk, not rust—by “faith expressing itself in love,” grace revealing itself in servanthood, and joy growing from fellowship with you. So very Amen we pray, in Jesus’ bodacious, beautiful, and bountiful name.