God is working in you to make you willing and able to obey him. Philippians 2:13 (CEV)

Living a life of obedience was never intended to be done in our own power. One of the first acts of grace was for God to instill in us the desire to do the things necessary for us to live under the power of the Holy Spirit.

That’s good news for those of us who are weak in our walk. Often we come upon a challenge in our lives and don’t know which way to choose, or don’t want to do what we know we should do. But God will guide us through these times if we let him. He will never force us to do what we don’t want to do, but he will always encourage us to do what is best for us and for others.

Philippians 2:13 also contains a challenge for us. We can not idly sit by and expect that God will do the work for us. A farmer may pray with all sincerity that his fields be plowed, but unless he puts his hand to the plow there will be no crop. In the same way we can pray for good health and that we’ll lose weight. But if we never exercise and eat our fill of unhealthy food there will be no positive results in our endeavor to be healthy.

We serve an almighty, omnipotent God. A God who, through his power, created the universe and controls all of nature by his will. But he will never force us to do anything against our will. The human will cannot be forced to do anything, yet a will that is in tune with God will be able to accomplish great things.

So why do we have the struggle Paul so adequately identifies in Romans? Why do we continually do, think and feel in ways that are repulsive to us while at the same time we struggle to do the things we truly want to do?

Sometimes we fail to listen to God’s leading. Jesus promised us his Spirit as a helper, not a tyrant; a guide, not a dictator; freedom to choose, not a brainwashed mind. When we listen to him he exerts an influence on us that makes us willing to obey Him.

Other times we struggle to follow God’s leading because God works in slow ways, like a crock-pot. We live in a microwave world and serve a crock-pot God who works slowly to accomplish his will. We often lack the patience for him to do things in his timing.

Your Heavenly Father never intended for you to be in this alone, but he never intended to do all the work of the relationship either. Relationships that grow slowly grow stronger over time. Let his power work deep within you to guide you. He knows your weakness and is willing to walk with you to be an over-comer.

PRAYER: Father God, I earnestly desire to see you work in my life, but struggle to do the things I know you want me to do. Help me to live according to the promise that you never intended me to do this alone. Empower me to see your direction and listen to your voice and then to act on what I hear. In your name, Amen.