Friday, October 2, 2009
God’s Work Now Is “In Us”
This is part 2 of God's Work Now Is,"In Us"
Please read part 1 first on this same blog.
Paul says we need to let Jesus’ attitude or mindset become our mindset. Philippians 2:5 (NIV) Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus: What was Jesus’ mindset? Jesus attitude was that He trusted and relied upon the Father unto death. Though He is God, Jesus did not exert His self to act independent of the Father (John 5:19).
Well-meaning self-effort of Christians applied according to “the mind of the flesh” is absolutely impotent; making them unable to live out the Christian life. Thus our corrupted soul’s mind needs to be renewed. Romans 12:2b (KJV) …be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind…
But how is our mind and mindset to be changed? Genuine change in our soul’s mindset comes about only through the work of the Father’s hand, working through “all” of the situations and circumstances of our lives, which are “working…for the good.”
Romans 8:28-29 And we know that ALL THINGS WORK TOGETHER FOR GOOD to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose. 29 For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate TO BE CONFORMED TO THE IMAGE OF HIS SON, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren.
Only the Lord can do for us what we cannot do for ourselves. God is working by using “ALL things” that occur in our lives.
Today, under “the dispensation of the grace of God” (Eph 3:2), God’s relationship with His own is as a literal loving Father of His Spirit-birthed children. His work is deep within, deeper than our mind. He, as Father, placed His Spirit “seed…which is Jesus Christ” (Gal 3:16, 1Peter 1:23) into the womb of each believer’s human spirit, birthing them to new life.
We can rely upon our loving Father because He is also omniscient (all-knowing) and sovereign. He is over all things in the lives of His beloved offspring. He works “all things” according to His will, grace, and mercy. He is at work in the believer’s life working “all things…for the (eternal) good” (Rom 8:28) of each one of His children, who are “predestinated to be conformed to the image of His Son” (Rom 8:29). Only the Father loves, cares, and knows what is best and necessary for each of His children, for them to come to maturity. It is only by the continued work of His hand that the believer may be “conformed to the image of His Son.” While we are involved in the “working out of our salvation” (Philip 2:12), Paul tells us how that inward “salvation” (sozo) or “completion” occurs. It occurs by the work of God within us.
“[Not in your own strength] for it is God who is all the while effectually at work IN YOU [energizing and creating IN YOU the power and desire], both to will and to work for His good pleasure and satisfaction and delight.” (Philippians 2:13 AMP)
Salvation of our soul is not salvation from judgment; that was finished at the cross. It is a salvation from our old fallen self. Thus, God’s concern today is not so much for the believer’s outer deliverance from trials; rather, He is at work through the instrumentality of our trials in order to bring about an inward metamorphosis in our soul. Each trial is instrumental in our learning to let go of self-reliance, to trust Him and His loving hand in our lives.
Each trial is an opportunity for the mortification of our flesh (Rom 8:13) and its mindset of self-reliance. He is at work through each trial, that we might become “conformed to the image of His Son” as the “first born of many brethren” (Rom 9:29b). Paul writes, Galatians 4:19 …I travail in birth again until Christ be formed in you. This word “formed” is from the Greek word “morphoo,” meaning “shaped.” The Lord is at work forming Christ in our soul, such that we would become the expression of His life that flows from within our spirit.
Every believer needs to become reformed in their soul’s mind, emotion and will, so as to become pliable to the Lord – making them fit for His use. Though our soul is not of physical material, it needs to be reshaped in its mindset, such that Christ may become expressed in and through our soul’s faculties of mind, emotion and will. Metaphorically, the formation of a shape out of pliable clay is more easily accomplished than with stone because clay may be shaped more readily than rigid stone. The renewal or reformation of a Christian’s soul is a somewhat painful process, whether we are as clay or as stone in the Lord’s hands. For those of us who are as stone in the Lord’s hand, we require chipping that occurs by the many difficult situation in life that the Lord uses to push us to let go of our self-interest and our self-reliance, to trust Him as our all.
The work of renewing our soul to its proper mindset belongs to God our Father. No clay or stone has ever reformed itself – likewise, our reshaping requires the intervention of God’s caring hand in our lives. We must be made to be as pliable to the Lord within us as a rubber glove is to the living hand. Thus, God’s first work in the renewal process is to make us pliable, often by our coming to face seemingly insurmountable situations of life. Only by His work may our soul-self become reformed to His image. Paul calls this reformation being “renewed” in soul, which is also referred to as our “inner” or “inward man.” 2 Corinthians 4:16 … the inward (soul) man is renewed day by day.