Summary: Part 6 of 6 in the series Faith Basics. In this message, orginally written by Rick Warren, Dave looks at how spirtual growth happens.
God’s Part/My Part In Changing Me
Faith Basics, part 6
Wildwind Community Church
David K. Flowers channeling Rick Warren
October 7, 2007
What would you like to change in your life? As I was growing up, I heard people say, "Jesus changed my life." How does Jesus change your life? Does He do surgery or brainwash you? Zap you with something and all of a sudden you’re changed? There’s a lot of confusing advice coming out nowadays on how God changes us. Some people say, "Just wait on the Lord." A passive approach. Other people say, "If it’s to be, it’s up to me." An activist viewpoint. What am I supposed to do in order to grow? Is it all me or is it all God or is it a combination? Paul deals with this very issue. When it comes to your spiritual growth, the fact is God has a part and you have a part. Paul uses two phrases to explain this cooperation:
Philippians 2:12-13 (NIV)
12 Therefore, my dear friends, as you have always obeyed--not only in my presence, but now much more in my absence--continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling,
13 for it is God who works in you to will and to act according to his good purpose.
I want you to notice these two interesting phrases, work out and work in. Work out is your part, and Work in is God’s part. We are to work out what God is working in. This doesn’t say "work for" your salvation. It says "work out". Now these are already Christians to whom Paul is writing. He is saying develop what you already have. Work out the implications. If you’ve been born again, start growing. Work it out.
What do you do in a physical workout? You do a workout not to get a body but to develop the body you already have. When you work out a puzzle, you already have all the pieces. You’ve just got to put it together. When a farmer works the ground, he’s cultivating it. Not work for, but work it out. Accept personal responsibility for your growth. Your salvation, not somebody else’s. Yours individually. God does not want cookie-cutter Christians. He doesn’t want a bunch of spiritual clones walking around, everybody copying each other. What does the gospel mean in your life? You are unique and individual. He doesn’t want you to be Billy Graham; He wants you to be you.
"...with fear and trembling..." Don’t be afraid of God. Christians have no need to fear God in terms of being afraid of Him. You are a part of His family. But be afraid you might miss out on all that God has made for you. Take your salvation seriously; it has eternal implications. It’s a life or death issue here. Nothing is more important than your own spiritual growth.
"...for it is God who works in you..." That’s God’s part. Look at that word, “works.” We get the word "energy" from this Greek word. God is the energizer for change in your life. He says, "I will give you the power to do what you want to do, need to do, and know what is right to do. I will empower you, energize you." God is the energizer to will and to act. He will give you the will power and the ability. He’ll give you the desire and the capability to change. There are three tools God uses to work change in your life, and three choices you need to make to work them out.
1. He uses the Bible.
2 Timothy 3:16 (MSG)
(16) Every part of Scripture is God-breathed and useful one way or another—showing us truth, exposing our rebellion, correcting our mistakes, training us to live God’s way.
The Bible changes our thoughts so it changes us. If you want to get serious about change, you need to get into this book. Read it, study it, memorize it, meditate on it, live it in your life. The more you get the Word of God in your life, the more you’re going to be changed.
People say, "I don’t have any faith." I ask them, "Are you reading the Bible?" They say, "Not really." What do they expect? The Bible says,
Romans 10:17 (NKJV)
(17) So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.
The second thing God uses to work change in our lives is:
2. He uses the Holy Spirit
God puts His Spirit in us. This is where the power comes from to change.
Romans 8:11 (NKJV)
(11) But if the Spirit of Him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, He who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through His Spirit who dwells in you.