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God Is At Work In You, Both To Will and To Work
Bible study on God and His work in us.

Sometimes people say, "God has a plan for your life!" and "Everything happens for a purpose!"

These phrases are often uttered from a Calvinistic perspective of predestination, that the Holy Spirit guides people to accomplish an individual plan God established for them, apart from their free will.

In this article, I want to look at a Biblical phrase that better states God's work in our lives, "For it is God who is at work in you, both to will and to work for His good pleasure" (Phil. 2:13).

We Must Obey. . . .
Paul, writing to Christians who are obeying God, exhorts them to continue their obedience, because God was working in them.

  • "So then, my beloved, just as you have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your salvation with fear and trembling; for it is God who is at work in you, both to will and to work for His good pleasure" (Phil. 2:12-13).

God works through His children in a special way, both to will and to work for His good pleasure.

Thus, we're careful to obey God, and work out our own salvation with fear and trembling.

God Works In Us Through His Word
God's word does not return to Him void. It's living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing as far as the division of soul and spirit (Is. 55:11; Heb. 4:12).

As Christians, we believe, therefore God's word works in us.

  • "Jesus answered and said to them, 'This is the work of God, that you believe in Him whom He has sent'" (Jn. 6:29).
  • ". . . the word of God, which also performs its work in you who believe" (1 Th. 2:13).

It's important for us to work out our salvation with fear and trembling, because if we stop believing, God's word stops working in us as His children.

God Works In You To Accomplish His Will
False teachers often lure people into their religion by promising financial prosperity. They teach that God will do whatever they want, as long as they pray in faith, and give money to the preacher's church.

But as Christians, we understand that God works in us to accomplish His will, not to accomplish our will.

In other words, God works in us for His pleasure, not for our pleasure.

  • "For it is God who is at work in you, both to will and to work for His good pleasure" (Phil. 2:13).

God's Plan For Your Life
Now, let's examine the expression, "God has a plan for your life," from a Biblical perspective.

God's plan for Christians is to use them in whatever way He pleases. His plan for our lives is to accomplish His will through us.

Therefore our prayer is that God uses us, as He wills, for His good pleasure.

Like the old song inspired by Isaiah 64:8, says:

Have Thine own way, Lord! Have Thine own way!
Thou art the Potter; I am the clay.
Mold me and make me after Thy will,
While I am waiting, yielded and still.

Suffering Required
Suffering comes in many forms. Sometimes God's children suffer more, and sometimes hardly at all. But all who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus, will suffer persecution (2 Tim. 3:12).

God often uses the suffering of His children to bring about His will:

  • Job suffered at the hands of Satan, so God could prove a point to Satan.
  • The Israelites lived in Egyptian bondage four hundred years, so God could bring them out in such a way to prove His sovereignty.
  • The apostles suffered so other Christians could be strong (1 Cor. 1:27; 4:10).
  • Early Christians suffered during the reign of Rome, so God could demonstrate that Jesus is King of kings and Lord of lords (Rev. 17:14; 19:16).
  • Christians today suffer persecution according to God's will (2 Tim. 3:12; 2 Cor. 12:10).

Prayers Answered According To God's Will
With these thoughts in mind, let's talk about prayer.

Indeed, God answers our prayers, but He answers them according to His will, not our will (1 Jn. 5:14-15).

As we look back and review our lives, we know God has answered our prayers in a way that's best for us, while placing highest priority on accomplishing His will (Matt. 5:5-11; Phil. 2:12-13).

In some cases, we may pray for relief from suffering, but God's answer is for us to continue suffering, so He can accomplish His will. This was the case with the Israelites in Egyptian bondage, Christians during Roman rule, and Paul when he had a thorn in the flesh.

As God's children, we know He's working in us to accomplish His will, no matter what state we find ourselves.

And when we pray, we know God will answer in a way that's best for us, placing highest priority on accomplishing His will.

Yes, in a manner of speaking, "God has a plan for your life!"

God's plan for your life is to work in you to accomplish His will, according to His good pleasure.