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A will pleasing to God (04/02/2006)
Jamie Smith

In Philippians 2:3 Paul discloses how God operates. In the believer He is operating to will as well as to work for His delight. This rules out His pleasure in something we do in ourselves through a self-motivated will. He displaces our choosings with His own. He convinces us so that our will corresponds with His. Being His will and His work, it is not only acceptable to Him but He delights in it.

The Apostles were prime examples. "You did not choose Me, but I chose you" (John 15:16). Without God choosing them, even dragging them (John 6:44), there would have been no Apostles. They could not choose otherwise but to answer Christ's call. From a dark perspective, likewise Judas would not have fingered Christ without God sending Satan into him (John 13:27) thus causing the betrayal.

Seeing God is working all, we should not be fatalistic as followers of certain Eastern religions. Rather we should enjoy the happiness that ensues when our will is conformed to His. I confess at times not being up to the task. That is, my flesh fears being removed from influence since its desires are appealing. However, when I fail, I do not deeply mourn my weakness and continually repent. Instead I thank God that my sins have been forgiven and carry as little guilt forward as I am able. Since He sees no guilt what right is there to hold myself guilty?

Therein lies the power for actions pleasing to God. They do not come through guilt, duty to God or a pious front. They happen as a natural course of His work in us. If we cloak the truth about who we really are, it leads to an unhappy person and one who is a poor witness to others since they easily see through the façade. That person is a slave to sin since it dominates life. Sin holds sway over not only those immersed in its activities, but also in those who keep the burden of sins that God has already forgiven.

It takes a while to adjust to this perspective since the flesh will use new freedoms in order to indulge in excesses. Which is a superior life, a guilt ridden one always keeping sin before it or one that at times partakes of sin, but believes God that sins have been forgiven (present perfect tense - ongoing forgiveness) and so can eventually better adjust to freedoms in a way concordant with a true faith?

I heard a speaker claim that studies show better behavior by those who carry little guilt versus those who lug guilt and try to "be good". My opinion is that one trusts God while the other trusts self. The strength of one faith lies in its strongest link. The strength of the other lies in its weakest.



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