God grants to us the privilege and responsibility of having a role in our relationship with Him through the Lord Jesus Christ.
"Work out your own salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of His good pleasure" (Philippians 2:12-13).
We "work out" that which God "worketh in." This constitutes real and personal relationship with God, as opposed to the mere programming that would ensue if we simply waited for our Lord to activate and engage us as mere inanimate objects. We might say that a lamp on a table "waits" for its owner to flip the switch that enables it to fulfill its illuminating function. It does nothing, however, to accomplish the task for which it was made and exists. Through Christ, conversely, trusting human beings actively devote themselves to being in expression who they are in essence. "Now are ye light in the Lord. Walk as children of light" (Ephesians 5:8; emphasis added). Completely dependent on the power of God, we nevertheless view ourselves as enabled and able to bring to the table real response in our relationship with Him. "I will love thee" declared King David, but he also affirms the holy means by which he devotes himself - "o Lord, my strength!" (Psalm 18:1).
As they so often do, the Lord Jesus Christ and His Apostle Paul unite to shine brilliant light on this blessed subject. "Without Me, ye can do nothing" said the Savior. "I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me" exulted Paul (John 15:5; Philippians 4:13). Apart from the presence of Christ, nothing of eternal value can proceed from the human heart. God made us to be His home. "I will dwell in them and walk in them" (II Corinthians 6:16). The Spirit of our Lord must take His rightful place within us if our "do nothing" is to become our "do all things." When He does, the faculties and members of our humanity spring to life, becoming activated to the degree Paul commands believers to "exercise thyself… unto godliness" (I Timothy 4:7). We view ourselves as able, through Christ, to "do the will of God from the heart" (Ephesians 6:6). We do not wait for God to turn on our switch, as it were. We rather choose to believe that the switch is on, and that the next step of faith and faithfulness beckons us to act according to the power of the Light that shines within us.
Such grace and response leads to a life of reality in our walk with God. We are more than machines. We are persons, the special creations of a Father who desires loving fellowship with beings He made for such glory of authentic relationship. We never move beyond our dependency. But in dependency, we determine to actually and factually love the One who so loves us. Again, as real persons enlivened and actualized by the Spirit of the Lord Jesus, we work out that which God works in. This is life, the life of Christ, and our life as gloriously known in and through Him.
"I am crucified with Christ. Nevertheless, I live, yet not I, but Christ liveth in me. And the life I now live in the flesh, I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me."
Weekly Memory Verse
Give unto the Lord the glory due unto His name; worship the Lord in the beauty of holiness."