Many of us can remember the commercial with the Energizer bunny. The battery it used allowed that rabbit to keep running and running and running. As I was studying today, I was impressed with the description of God in Phil. 2:13 which says,
“For it is God who works in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure.”
The story of God working in us is fascinating. The word translated “at work” is the source for our English word “energy.” As G. F. Hawthorne points out,
This word “carries within it the idea of working mightily, of working effectively (cf. Matt 15:2; Gal 2:8; 3:5; 5:6; Eph 2:2). The form this new verb takes is a participle used as a noun; thus it becomes another name for God. The Great Energizer, the one who is effectively at work, is God.”
The previous verse (Phil. 2:12) tells us we are responsible to “work out” our salvation, and this verse shows us that God is the one who will energize us as we put forth that effort. God, as the Energizer, makes our efforts fruitful. This truth is a profound blessing for the disciple of Jesus.
This privileged reality for the disciple of Jesus is in stark contrast to something else that Paul teaches us in Eph. 2:1-2, which says,
“And you were dead in the trespasses and sins in which you once walked, following the course of this world, following the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedience.”
If you notice in these verses, Satan is described as the one “at work” in unbelievers. It is the same word used by Paul in Philippians 2. Here, Satan is the energizer of those who live contrary to God’s will. Satan’s influence leads to a life of fleshy indulgence in disobedience to God, but God’s power leads to life in conformity to the image of His Son. When we become a Christian, we are transferred into the Kingdom of Light and God becomes our Energizer as we put forth the effort to follow Him.
Father, thank you for the reminder that through your work and influence in my life to energize me, I can become who you want me to be! Your design of salvation allows for this incredible possibility. Thank you for setting me free from the one who used to enslave me to pursue his will through my selfish interests before I was a disciple of Jesus.
Following Jesus with you,