Monday, July 22, 2013

Operation Long Haul

Operation “Long Haul”

Philippians 2:12-13

12 Therefore, my dear friends, as you have always obeyed—not only in my presence, but now much more in my absence—continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling,13 for it is God who works in you to will and to act in order to fulfill his good purpose. (NIV)

This letter was written by Paul to the church in Philippi while he was imprisoned in Rome. It is evident that Paul spent a considerable amount of time with them in Philippi before his departure, encouraging and discipling them in the Word of God. He was now in prison, and is writing to them and encouraging them to continue to “work out their faith” in his absence as much as faithful as they were when he was present.

(Ex): When I accepted Christ at a youth camp when I was younger, there was a man named Nick Nelms who stepped into my life and began to teach and disciple me how to grow closer to God. He was there when I made mistakes and would point me back to God and His forgiveness. Eventually, there was a point to where he had to take a step back and allow me to trust God on my own and build a personal relationship with him without him in the picture – This is where Paul is with the Philippians.

Now that Paul is gone, he is really encouraging and instructing them to trust God and focus on their relationship with Him while he is out of the picture.

But, Paul follows up with the following scripture, saying that “it is God who is working in them” and not Paul.

(Ex): When Nick began to step back and allow me to work out my faith on my own, I found myself really frustrated because I needed to work on “this” more and focus more on “that.” I would even find myself going to Nick with questions about things on how to do certain things that related to my faith. As you would think, he would point me back to God and challenged me to go to Him rather than other people.
I appreciate this now so much because he was showing me exactly what this scripture is saying, that it is God who is working in my life pulling me closer to him and not Nick or even myself.

It says that it is God who works in us to will and to act to fulfill His purpose. Let me encourage you that:

God is on an operation: He is operating on the inside of us and He doesn’t plan on leaving until the job is finished. 

There are a few things that we get from this verse:

  1. God is in it for the long haul – Paul tells them that although he isn’t present with them at the moment, God is. He is with them at all times and is working in them as well.
    Let me tell you, God is with us day and night; sun up and sun down; good times and bad times; when things are easy and when things are tough; God is with us and He isn’t going anywhere.
  2. Godly desires speak of a Godly intervention – Paul told them that God is at work to will; to help them choose God and righteousness.
    The very fact that we desire to grow closer to God shows that God is at work in us. Man naturally has no desire to come to Christ on his own, and lay down everything he has to make Him their master – this is only by the work of God. God is operating on you to give you an even greater desire to choose Him on a daily basis.
  3. God is guiding our actions – Again, Paul told them that God is at work to will AND to act; to help guide their choices in a Godly manner.
    God not only is giving us the desire to do His will, but as well as the power to do so. (2 Timothy 1:7) He places in us the principles of His Word within our hearts and a reverence for who He is as well that it would guide our choices and our actions.

How do we respond to such a word?

  1. Live Confidently a life worthy of God with the confidence that God is with you and has no plans of leaving. Also, that He is working on your behalf and not working against you.

  1. Trust Completely in God with an unwavering faith that is obedient to the Word of God and relies on Him in both the good and bad times.

  1. Love Continuously the people around you day-by-day in a way that shows the love of God