Philippians 2:13 “For God is working in you, giving you the desire and the power to do what pleases Him.”
Have you ever wondered what it is that God desires of you and whether or not you have the strength to do what He asks? What is it that will truly please Him? Is He really working in you? If so, are you submitting to His direction or fighting it? Is His will something that would involve self-sacrifice, an inconvenience at a time you are actively engaged in something else, perhaps doing something that makes you uncomfortable, or even taking action to reverse a lifestyle? These are questions we should ask ourselves.
I think most of us at some time have asked, “What is it, Father, that You desire of me?” A key here is not just asking the question, but listening for God’s answer. Sometimes we may hear a still, small voice speaking into our hearts, clearly directing our paths, or perhaps His answer shouts at us as loudly as thunderclaps! Most times, however, I believe God’s answer is revealed through Scripture—God’s Word that is active and alive. “For the word of God is alive and powerful. It is sharper than the sharpest two-edged sword, cutting between soul and spirit, between joint and marrow. It exposes our innermost thoughts and desires.” Hebrews 4:12
To hear God’s answer to any question, it is important to ask Him before digging into Scripture to give us teachable hearts. Reading Scripture purely for information is not God’s desire; changing us through His Word and learning what He desires is, and for this to happen we need to be open to what He is teaching in His Word. Then, when Scripture “exposes our innermost thoughts and desires,” we need to evaluate whether or not they do or don't line up with God’s. If they don’t, we are taught what God really wants: “The sacrifice you desire is a broken spirit. You will not reject a broken and repentant heart, O God.” Psalm 51:17
Now we are ready to learn what God says about pleasing Him. The Pharisees once asked Jesus what the greatest commandment was. He answered, “ ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength,’ and ‘Love your neighbor as yourself. There is no commandment greater than these.’ ” Mark 12:30-31 So what pleases God? In short, loving Him and loving people. We must act in true love in order to honor God and serve others. When we trust in Christ, God places this desire in our hearts, and He will give us the power to act accordingly--to make ourselves uncomfortable and possibly be inconvenienced. In other words, we are to die to self to meet the needs of others in love.
God’s Word says that when we believe in Jesus, the Holy Spirit dwells within us. He teaches, guides, directs, and gives us the power to fulfill the desires of God’s heart. This may be a gradual process, but we must always trust God to fulfill His promises! Doing so and living according to the two most important commandments stated by Jesus--loving God with all our hearts, souls, minds, and strength; and acting as Jesus' hands and feet as He would have us do as His representatives on earth--does bring our Father great pleasure. I can imagine Him looking at us and saying, "Well done, faithful servants." What can bless us more or bring us greater joy than allowing God to work within us as we rely on His power to accomplish all that will please Him?
Hebrews 13:20-21 "Now may the God of peace—who brought up from the dead our Lord Jesus, the great Shepherd of the sheep, and ratified an eternal covenant with his blood—may He equip you with all you need for doing His will. May He produce in you, through the power of Jesus Christ, every good thing that is pleasing to Him. All glory to Him forever and ever! Amen.”
1 Peter 4:1-2 “So then, since Christ suffered physical pain, you must arm yourselves with the same attitude He had, and be ready to suffer, too. For if you have suffered physically for Christ, you have finished with sin. You won’t spend the rest of your lives chasing your own desires, but you will be anxious to do the will of God.”
1 John 2:17 “And this world is fading away, along with everything that people crave. But anyone who does what pleases God will live forever.”
Ephesians 6:6 “Try to please them all the time, not just when they are watching you. As slaves of Christ, do the will of God with all your heart.” (Paul was writing to slaves, but when we believe in Jesus, we too become His slaves."
PRAYER: Father, I am brokenhearted and repentant over my sins, past, present, and future, and I thank You for your promise of not rejecting me, but rather embracing me in Your loving arms. I now ask You to give me the power through Your Holy Spirit to always place Your will above my own and to love others as You would. Daily help me to be Your hands and feet, whether it be inconvenient, uncomfortable, or a need to change direction. I trust You to never give up on me, but to daily grow me in Christ.
DISCLAIMER: I am just an ordinary woman who loves Jesus, accepting Him as Savior at the age of thirty-two and digging into the Bible ever since. How could I possibly hope to develop a heart relationship with God and trust Him with my life if I didn't know who He is?!
These devotionals are written to help you journey with Christ and grow in your heart relationship with Him. However, it is essential that you examine my words, and those of all other "teachers," with God's Holy Word. Therein lies the source of all truth!
Candice Mary Thomas writes about loving God and loving people! Coming to Christ at age 32 and now in her 70's, Candice knows what a difference it makes living with or without Christ as one's personal Savior.