It is God who works in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure. (Phil. 2:13 NIV)But by the grace of God I am what I am, and his grace to me was not without effect. No, I worked harder than all of them—yet not I, but the grace of God that was with me. (1 Cor. 15:10 NIV) The Lord will fulfill his purpose for me; your steadfast love, O Lord, endures forever. (Psalm 138:8 ESV)
Dear heavenly Father, Oh, the blessed freedom to work without concern for merit or deserving, personal failure or self-aggrandizement. For the gospel has “trashed” every notion of wages (earned or lost), as the motivation for our obedience. Because of Jesus’ bold declaration, “It is finished,” we can now give ourselves to the unfinished business of your kingdom, with zero self-interest.
Father, thank you for the “inside job” you’re accomplishing in us. Not only are you seeing to it that we work for your good pleasure, you’re actually giving us the will to do so—underscoring how utterly dependent we are on your Spirit’s work. Such good news doesn’t make us passive, but active, as we give ourselves to the things that matter most to you.
Father, to whatever extent you have accomplished anything through me that’s been pleasing and honoring in your sight, I gladly affirm with Paul, it wasn’t me, but “the grace of God that was with me.” And looking ahead, my prayer remains the same. May your grace have even greatereffect, in me and through me. Free me to love your glory over my reputation; your transforming kingdom over my tiny fiefdom; your story of reconciliation and redemption, over my default mode of personal peace and no interruptions.
Because I am confident you will “accomplish your purpose for me,” and because I am certain of your “steadfast love,” I want the rest of my days to be marked by gospel risks, not the rust of indifference, and by faith expressing itself in love and grace expressing itself in servanthood. So very Amen I pray, in Jesus’ bodacious and beautiful name.