… work out your salvation [that is, cultivate it, bring it to full effect, actively pursue spiritual maturity] with awe-inspired fear and trembling [using serious caution and critical self-evaluation to avoid anything that might offend God or discredit the name of Christ]. For it is [not your strength, but it is] God who is effectively at work in you, both to will and to work [that is, strengthening, energizing, and creating in you the longing and the ability to fulfill your purpose] for His good pleasure.
Philippians 2:12-13 (Amplified Bible)
What wonderfully powerful verses full of promise and vision! Not only does God take the initiative by pursuing a love relationship with us, but He also initiates the invitation for us to be involved with Him in His work.
God doesn’t consult us before He begins His work, yet He invites us to be partakers in it. Therefore, in order to be rightly oriented to God, we need a God-centered life. In Genesis, we read about how God accomplished His purposes through Abraham, but while we see a record of Abraham’s walk with God, the focus is always on God and what He is doing.
Whenever God starts to do something in the world, He takes the initiative to come and talk to someone. Look at the following list:
Gen. 6:5-14—God was about to destroy the world by a flood when He came to Noah.
Gen. 18:16-21—When God prepared to destroy Sodom and Gomorrah, He told Abraham.
Exodus 3—God came to Moses when He wanted to deliver Israel.
Judges 6:11-16—God came to Gideon when He was about to deliver the Israelites from the oppression of Midianites.
Acts 9:1-16—God came to Saul (later named Paul) on the road to Damascus when He was ready to let the Gospel be made known to the Gentiles. Without a doubt, the most important function in each situation was not what the individual wanted to do for God, but what God was about to do. Let me ask the question, “Who delivered the children of Israel from Egypt, God, or Moses?” God did, but He chose to bring Moses into a relationship with Himself so that He, God, could use Moses to deliver Israel.
God desired His people to follow His ways. He created us. He knows us. He knows our world and He knows the past, present, and future. God’s ways will always be right and the best. Read Psalm 81:10-14 where God gently warns His people that if they refuse to submit, He will allow them to do their own thing. At first, that looks like “freedom,” but from painful experience, we know it’s a recipe for disaster.
Now note Ephesians 2:10, “For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.”
God has a plan, a purpose, and a future for you and me. Let us also be aware that it is through faith and patience that we inherit what has been promised—vision, plans, and purpose. The source of patience is having God’s vision because only vision from God gives us God’s inspiration. Moses endured not because of his devotion to his principles of what was right nor because of his sense of duty to God but because he had a vision of God. “…He endured as seeing Him who is invisible” (Heb. 11:27).
A person who has the vision and purposes of God in his heart is not devoted to a particular cause or issue. He is devoted to God Himself. You always know when the vision and purposes are of God because of the inspiration that comes with it. So, we come full circle. For it is God who is all the while effectively at work in you energizing and creating in you the power and desire. God is waiting and wanting to fulfill His purpose in us and through us for others to His glory, power, and splendor.