In this post, we will begin to explore the second of these three great truths designed to free us from the guilt and shame of trying to live the Higher Christian Life in the flesh, by the power of our own strength and resources, and failing miserably. Sound familiar? Unfortunately, it is a description of many who begin their walk with Christ in faith, only to think they are now mature by trying to complete their walk with Him in the flesh. As if faith and dependence on Him is a sign of weakness or frailty and something “real” Christians shun as they grow in spiritual adulthood. But lest we forget, God has given us Himself in the Person of the Holy Spirit to live in and through us for a reason. And it is He, and He alone, the Spirit of God, who provides all we need in this life, ever.
For review, Truth One states we are incapable of pleasing God or producing anything good with our flesh, by our own efforts, with our sinful nature, no matter how hard we try. And if you haven’t come to grips with Truth One yet, go back and review Romans 7, especially verse 18. Now Truth One can sound a bit discouraging, especially for those who suffer from a “little God” syndrome, which we will discuss later. But it is actually great news. For just like salvation, it puts us at a place where we must admit we are helpless to save and redeem ourselves and need a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, someone much greater than we are, to do just that. We are thus dependent on Him for what we cannot accomplish ourselves, no matter how long or hard we try.
The same applies to the Holy Spirit. Truth Two states God has given us the Holy Spirit to live and dwell in us for the purpose, among other things, of working in us “both to will and to do for His good pleasure” (Phil. 2:13). Did you catch that? The Holy Spirit will allow and empower us to “will and do for His good pleasure.” And by the way, the “His” is God the Father. Not you. Not anyone you know. And especially not your flesh, your unredeemed humanity.
The verse reads like this in context: Paul begins by showing the unity that comes when each of us reacts to each other in humility (Phil 2:1-4). And how is that seemingly impossible task accomplished? By the power of the indwelling Spirit. Then he goes on to show the humility of Christ. After all, if Jesus portrayed this much humility, how much more should we who are called by His name? Read these verses over a few times, slowly, savoring each word.
Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus, who, being in the form of God, did not consider it robbery to be equal with God, but made Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a bondservant, and coming in the likeness of men. And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross.
Therefore God also has highly exalted Him and given Him the name which is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those in heaven, and of those on earth, and of those under the earth, and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father – Philippians 2:5-11.
And finally, Paul exhorts the church at Philippi to live out the faith they have in Him as beacons of eternal light revealing the Father (Matt. 5:14-16). He encourages them to be “blameless and harmless, children of God without fault in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world” (Phil. 2:15).
But embedded between these two statements is found one of the glorious purposes God gave each of us the Holy Spirit. It says, “For it is God who works in you both to will and to do for His good pleasure” (Phil. 2:13). It is God, in the Person of the Holy Spirit, working His good pleasure, His divine will, out in your life.
But there is more.
Let’s look at this verse a little closer.
“For it is God who works (energéō – to be effective, operative, active, implying energy) in you (make it personal) both to will (thélō – to desire with purpose and intention, implying active volition) and to do (energéō – the same word translated works) for His good pleasure (eudokía – gracious purpose, a delightful, fixed intention of benevolent favor, a good intention).”
So it is God, in the Person of the Holy Spirit, who is at work or working (energéō) in you with a purpose, an intended goal (thélō) for your life. And that goal, what He predestined when He called you to Himself, is for you to be “conformed to the image of His Son” (Rom. 8:29). And He is currently working (energéō) this purpose in you for no other reason than “His good pleasure” (eudokía), or with a desire to be gracious and benevolent to you. This is our promise from God. Better yet, this is your personal promise from God And it is one reason why His Spirit dwells in each of us.
So if this is true, what more do you need than you already have in Him? What do you have to add to your life by your own strength and resources to make up for the Spirit’s shortcomings or deficiency in you? And if you are “complete in Him” (Col. 2:10) and the “fullness of Him who fills all in all” (Eph. 1:23) abides in you, tell me, what more do you need than you already have? Is there anything impossible for the God who lives in you? (Matt. 10:26).
This is the foundation of Truth Two. But before we dig deeper into this truth, you must come to firmly believe in your heart God has already provided, in Himself dwelling in you in the Person of the Holy Spirit, more for you than you could ever imagine. And He is well able to complete what He has begun in you (Phil. 1:6), for His own glory and for “His good pleasure.”
Or, because He wanted to. You are loved that much!
Tomorrow we will look at what it means to have the Holy Spirit dwelling in us and what that blessing means in the Higher Christian Life.
Until He Comes,