The older I get the more I realize just how long it has taken me to put into practice what God has so simply put before me. Oh, I understood what He said, but my response was so often to take the position that it was too hard for me to do and turn to the Holy Spirit and depend upon Him to accomplish the work … it was just too hard.
Here is a perfect example…
Phil 2:12b … work out your own salvation with fear and trembling.
I have never questioned the fact that I am saved, redeemed by Jesus surrendering His life on the cross, and I do not have anything I am required to do regarding my salvation. It is a fact. I answered His command “to believe” and that settled it. But I struggled a great deal with “work out your own salvation.” I never fully understood what followed …
13 For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure.
David said in Psalm 139 … Oh Lord, explore me. I never truly understood that either until He took me through verse 13. God Himself is the explorer of our personal “will” and reveals to us what needs to change. Verse 13 is how He does it.
Paul tells us that it is God who works in us to enable us to allow the Holy Spirit to come into our spirit and energize our “will” so that we have the desire and commitment to do what He asks of us. In other words, the Holy Spirit enables us to work out what He has already worked in.
But when my focus is self-centered and not Christ-centered I have a big problem. If my focus is self-centered, I believe that everything that happens to me is always either for me or against me, as opposed to being Christ-centered and understanding that God is at work perfecting me by everything that happens to me.
So, what it took me a long time to learn is that when the Holy Spirit is correcting something in my life, the question of whether or not I can do it is irrelevant … “I Can.” The Holy Spirit makes it possible for me to understand what He is asking me to do and He energizes my will and empowers me to do according to His leading. That eliminates my plaintiff but I can’t do that.
I have had an area of my life that I have struggled with for a long time. In the past I have failed time and time again and turned to God and said I can’t do what I know you want me to do … It’s too hard and I’m just too weak, you need to do this for me! Finally, the Lord virtually exploded verse 13 in my face and His message finally got through … Yes, you can because I have given you My Spirit who will work in you and bring forth your will to do what I ask and give you the power to do it. Now, no more excuses, I have given you all you need. Just follow His leading and DO IT!
It’s amazing how having all your excuses removed truly boils it down to a black and white decision.