When God Rolls Up His Sleeves

Michael Beck

“… Work out your own salvation with fear and trembling. For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of His good pleasure. Do all things without murmurings and disputings …” (Philippians 2:12-14)

We listen too poorly. We speak too quickly. We get angry too easily. The world around us drives us crazy. But the world is not about to change. If we are to ever find any rest in this life, we must stop focusing on everything and everyone outside of us. We must stop blaming others for our unhappiness. We must realize that we, and our ungodly responses to the world we live in, are the real cause of our unhappiness. Once we are willing to look in the mirror, and see the real problem, we are only at the brink of a solution. Now, we must have our eyes fixed on the Perfecter of our faith, the only one who can bring us true peace. And finding His rest for our soul requires that we learn of Him. So we pray, “Teach me Your ways. Show me Your paths.”

We know there will be no quick fixes to our problem because our problem is deeper than what we do – it lies in who we are, and what we became over the years without Him. We need change on the deepest level of our being and that change cannot be had simply because we want it. Wanting it is a good first step, but if we want something, we are still without it.

Being “poor in spirit” is a prerequisite to possessing the kingdom of heaven where we can finally find righteousness, joy, and peace. Those who think they are good will find out that their goodness is like a flower that wilts in the noonday sun. We need to know that in ourselves there dwells no good thing. Only God is good.

Only His goodness endures continually. Only His goodness is not overcome with evil, but overcomes evil with good. Our goodness is flimsy and fragile. We are good when others are good to us. If we are ever to be truly good it will be because God, through Christ, has worked His goodness into us. That does not happen overnight. That happens as we hunger and thirst for a righteousness that is greater than our own. That happens when we refuse to justify our wrong responses to the wrong we see or experience from others. Now we are not looking for them to treat us better, to become different, to change for our sake, we are wholly focused on us and Christ who can change us. We have made a decision that through it all we are going to learn and grow and be transformed into the image of our Lord. We commit to the long haul process of letting God change us deeply, working in us a renewed mind and better response to the world we find ourselves in. We know we have need of patience and we are going to let patience have her perfect work. We are going to run with patience the race that is set before us with our eyes toward Jesus. The process will be painful, but we are determined to learn obedience through it. We stop our complaining. We stop our “Why me, Lord?” and “How long, Lord?” and we say, “I wlll let You work all things together in my life for this one good – that I become like Jesus in my heart of hearts.”

Now, God can roll up His sleeves and get to work, because He has our cooperation.

Michael Beck is a pastor in the Dallas, TX area and the main author on Signpost. Receive a daily devotional he publishes every morning via email.