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January 10, 2019

GOD FIRST: Soaring in God’s Strength

“For God is working in you, giving you the desire and the power to do what pleases Him.” Philippians 2:13 (NLT2)

When we put God first, we can soar to new heights in His strength! Too often, though, we may feel like we can’t even get off the ground.  What’s wrong?  In the verse prior to this promise in Philippians 2:13, the Bible says,

“… Work hard to show the results of your salvation, obeying God with deep reverence and fear.”  (Vs. 12)  

When you put the two verses together, it almost sounds like a contradiction.  Are we doing the work, or is God?  The answer is “Yes!”  As we strive to serve God, He enables us to soar to new heights because He is at work in us.  Here’s the point: “God must work in us before He can work through us.”  When we stay rightly related to God, His Spirit begins to do a deeper work in us so that He can accomplish a greater work through us!  He enables us to soar to new heights in His own strength! 

I like the way the Amplified Bible translates Philippians 2:13.  It says,

“[Not in your own strength] for it is God Who is all the while effectually at work in you [energizing and creating in you the power and desire], both to will and to work for His good pleasure and satisfaction and delight.”

That is such a good verse to meditate on today as you go about your day in an effort to put God first.  Here’s why.  If you’re honest, there are times you not only feel incapable of doing God’s work, but you struggle with even having the desire to do it!  Personally, I need both the power and the desire to do His will.  If you’re struggling with the desire, the will, to do God’s will and work in your life, ask Him to create in you that desire.  Sometimes, I start in my own strength and run out of energy and, soon, lose my desire and passion.   I’ve learned now to let that be a trigger to pray back Philippians 2:13, that it’s not in my strength but His, that He is all the while (always) effectually at work in me, energizing and creating in me the power and desire, both to will and to work for His good pleasure and satisfaction and delight! 

We can soar in His strength because the power that works in us is the power of the Holy Spirit!  In fact, the word for “work” in this passage is a Greek word from which we get our word “energy”. It’s God’s divine energy at work in us and through us that enables us to soar to new heights in our service for Him!  Think of it – the same Holy Spirit who energized and empowered Jesus, that raised Him from the dead, is available to you and me today!  Paul prayed that the Christ followers in Ephesus would experience this power available to them:

“I pray that you will begin to understand how incredibly great His power is to help those who believe Him. It is that same mighty power that raised Christ from the dead….” Ephesians 1:19-20 (TLB)

As you seek to put God first in your day today, pray that He will energize you with that same power and fill your heart with His desire to do His will.  Admit you are powerless on your own, and depend on His strength.  You will begin to soar to new heights! 

Prayer:

Thank You, God, that You are always at work in me. I admit that I am powerless on my own to do what pleases You.  I need You working in me to do it.  Today I ask You to fill me with Your Holy Spirit to energize and create in me the power and the desire to put You first.  Help me today to soar to new heights in Your strength.