Enabled and Empowered to Work EGP Blog post from December 30, 2018

“LORD, … give me a greater desire and give me a greater ability to work this out. … I want it because You made me want it, but everything within me knows I want this [too]. And I’m working because You are enabling and empowering me to work. But every fiber in my being is working with all of its heart.” —Francis Chan, “The Book of Galatians, Ephesians, and Philippians”

“[Paul] says, ‘WORK OUT your own salvation with FEAR and TREMBLING.’ But he just spent Galatians AND Ephesians talking about how it’s NOT by works. So, what is THIS about? … It’s NOT, ‘work FOR your own salvation.’ Now THAT would be a contradiction. But he says, ‘no, work OUT your salvation’. While it’s true that WE don’t save ourselves—it’s by GRACE through FAITH—but there’s a working OUT. When you get SAVED—when the Holy Spirit ENTERS you … you become a SLAVE to what’s RIGHT. That’s why in Galatians, Ephesians, Philippians, there’s still COMMANDS. There’s still things we have to DO. But there’s this POWER in us—there’s this DESIRE to work it out—and yet we do it in REVERENCE, with FEAR and TREMBLING. It’s not like, ‘Okay, God saved me,’ and now I just have this CASUAL attitude about Him. NO, He’s still an AMAZING, HOLY God. …

The next verse is key. He says, ‘For it is GOD who works in you, both to WILL and to WORK for His good pleasure.’ Okay, there is a MYSTERY here. … What does GOD do and what do I do? Okay, I understand with salvation HE’s the one that opened my eyes, HE’s the one that saved me. It was a TOTAL gift. I was DEAD, so HE did it ALL. But now with THAT, there’s just something very real about me CHOOSING every day to LIVE for Him. But He says that WILL—even that WILL—to live for Him is HIS. …

But again, it’s not PASSIVE. So, on the one hand, I come before God and say, ‘Lord, I NEED this desire. YOU build it up in me. Give me a GREATER DESIRE. And give me a GREATER ABILITY to work this out.’ And meanwhile, … where GOD touches my HUMANITY, ‘God, I am going to WORK and make EVERY EFFORT and STRIVE toward this, because I FEAR You. I TREMBLE before You. I’m AMAZED by my salvation, and I WANT this. I want it because YOU MADE ME want it, but EVERYTHING within me knows I WANT THIS [too]. And I’m WORKING because You are ENABLING and EMPOWERING me to work. But EVERY FIBER in my being is WORKING with all of its HEART.’ And so SOMEHOW the two come TOGETHER.”

Key verses

Philippians 2:12–13; Ephesians 2:1–10; Romans 6:16–23