God at Work in You

Walk Worthy of Your Calling

Upon professing faith in Christ, we could be tempted to coast through life without putting any effort into our relationship with Him. But what if God wants more our lives here on earth? What if we took steps of faith in His direction even when we didn't want to? In this 23-minute video from The Gospel Coalition, Mark Mellinger sits down with John Piper to talk through theological questions about grace and spiritual growth. Dr. John Piper is founder and teacher of desiringGod.org, chancellor of Bethlehem College & Seminary, and former pastor for 33 years of Bethlehem Baptist Church in Minneapolis. John has authored over 50 books including Desiring God and Seeing and Savoring Jesus Christ.

About life in Christ, John said, “The way God has set things up, He gets more glory with a lifetime of returning to Him…than if I were instantaneously perfected. If we didn’t have to struggle, pride would enter in and God’s glory would not shine as brightly.”  

When did you come to faith in Christ? What has your journey with Christ [sanctification] been like since then? In what ways has God shown you more of your sin, and even more of His grace?
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Philippians 2:12-13 (ESV)

Lights in the World

12Therefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, so now, not only as in my presence but much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling,13for it is God who works in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure.

Scripture quotations marked (ESV) are from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version®, copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

1 Corinthians 15:10 (ESV)

10But by the grace of God I am what I am, and his grace toward me was not in vain. On the contrary, I worked harder than any of them, though it was not I, but the grace of God that is with me.

Scripture quotations marked (ESV) are from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version®, copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

Though we did not earn our salvation, John referenced these verses to remind us that we are called to “work out our salvation” [Phil 2:12] by pursuing obedience and a relationship with Christ. When we take those steps of faith, God graciously and powerfully “works in us” [Phil 2:13] to help us and make us more like Christ. John said that God pushes his legs out of bed in the morning to read and pray. It is not power within himself…it is the grace of God [1 Cor 15:10].

How are you pursuing obedience and a relationship with Christ in this season of your life? When do you struggle most to put in the effort? Why?
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When have you felt God work in your body, mind, or spirit to help you do things in faith that you did not want to do or could not do in your own strength–like getting out of bed early to pray, loving a stranger, or forgiving a friend? Explain.
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John said we can "work out our salvation" by:
  1. Admitting we can do nothing. [Lord, I do not want to read the Bible today...]
  2. Praying for help. [Give me the desire and focus to do it in faith...]
  3. Trusting in His promises. [I trust that You are at work within me...]
  4. Acting in faith. [Read my Bible]
  5. Thanking God for His grace. [Thank you, Father for working in me...]

How do you think the process above–from admitting your need to thanking God for grace–brings Him more glory? How might it keep you humble before Him?
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John said, “Visible acts of love and righteousness and justice and purity are evidences of you being born of God. The only qualification there is that there is such a thing as hypocrisy. You can begin to deceive yourself by going to church, reading your Bible, and doing lots of pious things…” 

Describe a time when you realized that your “good” behavior was not representative of your heart. What did you do? In what ways do you guard yourself from hypocrisy and legalism today?
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"Walk in a manner worthy of the calling with which you have been called." – Ephesians 4:1 ESV

John said that walking in a manner worthy of our calling is to behave in a way that shows the worth of the One who called us into His family. Take time to reflect on the worth of Christ in your own heart and life, and then take steps of faith to live in a way that acknowledges the grace and power of God and displays His infinite worth and glory. 

For more information about The Gospel Coalition, click here.