It is God who works in you to will and to act according to his good purpose. ~ Philippians 2:13
“I’m doing it, daddy!” the little girl said excitedly.
What a sight! A four-year-old behind the wheel of an over-sized truck. Her little hands not fully grasping the steering wheel. Her feet dangling inches from the floor board. Her neck craned upward, chin thrust out, eyebrows raised as high as they would go. Still, she could barely see over the dash board. But she was doing it.
“Daddy, I’m driving!”
Or so she thought. She was proud of her efforts behind the wheel, but dad was in control. His eyes were watching for any obstacles in the vacant parking lot. His foot was hovering over the brake ready to stop the vehicle in an instant. His hands were firmly grasping the steering wheel below hers. His voice was instructing her when and how far to turn the wheel.
Spiritually, we are more hindered than a four-year-old. From the moment our life begins, we are dead in sin and separated from God. Without faith in Christ, we cannot do anything that pleases God. But the Holy Spirit works through the good news about Jesus. He connects us through baptism to Him who died for our sins and was raised again. He gives us faith, and life in Christ, so we can live like Christ.
The funny thing is, it looks like we are doing the work. When others see us humbly helping others without expecting anything in return, when they see us work without grumbling, talk without complaining, or when they see us leading good lives, it is really God at work in us. The loving Father empowers us. The living Christ motivates us. The enlightening Spirit guides us.
The little girl steered the over-sized truck because she was connected to power—her father. When we stay connected to Jesus through reading the Bible, attending church services, and participating in the Lord’s supper, God’s power is at work in us, giving us the desire to act in accordance with his good purpose. We will offer our lives and lips in thanks, because God is working in us and through us to bring the good new of his salvation to all people.
Heavenly Father, give me the desire and the willingness to fulfill your good purpose. Amen