We ended last time with Ben’s comment:
“Christ can change our hearts in an instant; changing our habits may take much longer.”
When we are drawn into a relationship with the Triune God, we are given the mind of Christ; the righteousness of Christ. Christ IN US is what transforms us and enables our continuing transformation.
The grace of God is at work in us, causing us to be formed into Christ’s image.
However, it is a mistake to think – OK, no effort required on our part, we can simply relax and wait for Jesus to perfect us… we can carry on with our selfishness, our meanness, our anger our self-centred focus . . . we’ll just wait for God to clean us up . . .
Paul points out:
“…work out your own salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who works in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure.”
Surrounding this statement by Paul, is a call to obedience which will result in a lack of grumbling and dispute as our attitudes and behaviours will be become noticeably different.
Again, we see that the Bible is thoroughly realistic about our human condition. Sometimes the Lord will simply remove from us the desire to express our self-centredness; sometimes we will find ourselves living in humility and be amazed that God has caused us to live in such a way. It is the grace of God changing our rebellious hearts.
In other situations, it may require
- Our willingness to struggle to overcome our sin of selfishness,
- Some conscious discipline to love others.
- Our readiness to make every effort to serve.
- Our concerted effort to place others before ourselves which will require the engagement of our mind and will.
The source of our motivation is knowing the grace of God in the humility of Christ; the source of our effort is His power and energy.
We will work. We will be willing. We will serve. We will put sin to death because of the strengthening power of the grace of God through the humility of Christ.
We, and our young people, need to know that living in Christ-like ways is enabled by the grace and power of God and His Spirit who causes us to persevere.
 Philippians 2:12-13