Is It God’s Faithfulness or Will?

Good day friends! I pray your week and weekend went well!

Readings for September 27, 2020; Seventeenth Sunday after Pentecost

Ezekiel 18:1-4, 25-32; Psalm 25:1-10; Philippians 2:1-4 (5-13) 14-18; Matthew 21: 23-27 (28-32)

Therefore, my dear friends, as you have always obeyed…continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who works in you to will and to act in order to fulfill his good purpose. Philippians 2:12..13

The other day I was with a girlfriend and we were reminiscing on our lives and sharing faith stories – those events in your life where you clearly see God working and you know without a doubt that God was in control of those events. After sharing one such story, where I still shake my head at how the events unfolded, I ended with, “God is so gracious! He is so faithful! I never imagined that such a dream of mine would be a reality.” To which my friend matter-of-factly stated, “But perhaps it was God that placed such a desire on you so that he would fulfill it, just as he has done. What about if it wasn’t the Lord simply answering your prayers but that he was fulfilling what he had planned all along for you. He was working out His will for you.”

Wow! That was a revelation for me, and yet it made so much sense. It made me stop and reflect on all those events in my life, my faith/God stories. It wasn’t God just being faithful to me and answering my prayers to fulfill my desires, but it was God directing my life and my inmost being to desire his will in my life. Wow! Could it be?! Could it be just as Paul is exclaiming about being obedient and continuing “to work out your salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who works in you to will and to act in order to fulfill his good purpose.” This aspect of acknowledging our desires and hopes as tangible gifts from the Lord, and praying that he guide our life according to His will, relinquishes any control we feel we have over our lives. It acknowledges that our God has our lives – my life, your life – totally in his hands. He is in total control. What power! What Awesomeness! May we live in total trust and humility in God’s sovereignty.

Now, as I live in this understanding of obedience and trust in the Lord over my life, it makes me see that it is the Lord that has placed me where I am to be his light to those around me. It is no longer just about me wanting to do or be in a specific place, but God wanting me to be in that place in order that I do his will and be his light to those he puts in my path. This totally aligns with Paul’s explanation that “We are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.” (Ephesians 2:10) Therefore, I pray that I no longer live in such self-centredness that this life is all about me, but in the joy and humility that God is guiding me through these days as his beloved creation to serve where ever he places me.

In the same way may you be encouraged to entrust your days and their events, your dreams and desires to the Lord as he fulfills in you all that he has planned. Always remember that you are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for you to do, and may you continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who works in you to will and to act in order to fulfill his good purpose.

Prayer: Dear Lord, what a revelation in knowing that even my dreams and desires are from you. Please forgive my selfishness in thinking you had nothing to do with instilling my desires but only faithful in answering my prayers for their fulfillment. How you must shake your head at me?! Forgive me. Continue to guide me according to your will, and help me to be obedient to your call and prompting. Do not let my human fears for change and challenges overcome me and keep me from doing those works which you have prepared for me. In Jesus’ name I pray. AMEN!

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