The Bible says if I don't do the word of God, if I don't apply into my life what God's saying to me, actually I end up quite deceived. I think I'm doing real well, because I measure doing real well by the information I know - I've got three folders worth of Bible notes. I've been to Bible school. But none of this, until it's applied, changes my life. So the Hebrew way of thinking is very simply this; what you are doing, is what you know.
Let's open our Bibles then at Philippians 1. Last week I started to speak to you, a series just on "forces that work within us"; and let's just pick up the scripture that we started with, and I want to pick up one aspect of it, and share with you something that's going to help.
So here it is in Philippians 2:12, and it says: it is God who works in you. God works in you, both to will and to do for or of His good pleasure. In other words, it says: God energises you.
It's the spirit of God that creates energy, passion and motivation in you, so this is not just about doing things that will pep ourselves up, and motivate ourselves. There is a reality, He says: where God's spirit will energise you so powerfully, that your mind begins to want, desire and choose the things that are going to please God; and your life reflects - you actually end up doing them.
That word 'to do' is the same word, energise; so putting it again, it is the spirit of God, when He's working in you, who energises you, to make choices in line with what God has for your life; and then energises you to work them out.
That's very, very powerful, and that's not the experience of most Christians by the way, because these things don't just take place in a vacuum. There are some things we have to do. There's a part we play, in co-operating with God.
Notice the context, it says: you work out your salvation. There are parts we play in it; and we looked last week at some forces that work in us, or energise us. Some are very negative, so we looked at sin, and we saw that sin works death in us. It actually creates an energy that's quite negative, depressing, brings isolation, brings us into a place where we don't want to be.
We saw also that evil spirits work in us. It's the same word, energise; evil spirits create negative energy flows in our life that depress us, frustrate us, irritate us; and strengthen sin working in our life. But we saw also that God works in us, and I'll talk a bit more about that, but I want to pick one aspect of it that we touched on last week, and it's found in 1 Thessalonians 2:13.
For this reason we thank God (and Paul's saying) without ceasing, because when you received the word of God, which you heard from us, you received it not as the word of men, but as it is in truth, the word of God, which also effectively works.
There it is again, the word 'works'; the word of God works in people. It may not be working in you, but it can do, so don't bring the word of God down to your experience. Have a look at what God says, and begin to expect your experience to come up to that.
It tells us that God's word energises us. Now that's interesting, so I always think: how on earth does that happen? What part do I play in this, because for a lot of us, when we read the Bible, we find that you read it, and you've read three or four pages or chapters or whatever, and then you don't sort of remember much, and it hasn't really done much either. Probably you're sleepy by then, and that's the experience of many people.
But there are some things we can do, which will cause God's word to create energy inside us, and to effectively strengthen our spirit, so our outer life begins to change, but we have to co-operate with God.
Why can God's word do this? Because Jesus said, in John 6 verse 63: the words I speak to you are spirit. So the only thing that can energise your spirit is spiritual substance, something spiritual energises you.
For example, how many this morning - you may have come in heavy or tired or weary or whatever, or problems living; but as we've been in this atmosphere, where there's been strong praise and exalting God, you felt yourself becoming energised on the inside? How many have found they're quite energised? Good - a lot of people. That's normal when you come into an experience of worship. That energy is a spiritual energy.