A Word from Pastor Doug
Spiritual growth can often be misunderstood. We can easily become frustrated and move to impatience when we have the false idea of how growth takes place. I have heard it expressed, “God is the one that brings all the change, and we are just waiting for God to do the refining in our lives.” While God is responsible for salvation, freedom and change in our lives and the refinement of character (sanctification) is more of a spiritual collaboration. Philippians 2:12-13 addresses this clearly as the apostle Paul says, “work out your own salvation”. This has nothing to do with the initial act of grace called justification, that is all God. By grace we have been saved. And yet the ‘working out’ is where the collaboration comes in.
I know that I can be impatient, and as I am asking God for help in this area of my character there are practical steps I can also take. On my way to Abbotsford three days a week, I’ve been driving in the same lane and in the grocery store I’ve been waiting in the same check out line. I pray while doing these things, “Doug, calm down, learn patience, be patient.” I’ve noticed something about my patience levels, they are getting refined. Paul said work out ‘your own’. This means to possess it in a way that you take responsibility when character flaws emerge. And I have my own list of flaws.
Ok, stop. The next part of what Paul says in Philippians, is so we never think it is all about us. Verse 13 states, “for it is God who works in you.” The word ‘works’ here means energy. God is putting energy in you right now by His Holy Spirit to bring about a desired end. The goal is to look more like Jesus in all we do. The picture is not independence but a divine partnership.
I’m working it ‘out’(character), when God all along is working ‘in’.
In light of this, I want to encourage you to sign up for CLA’s Transformation Weekend. This two-day event is designed to bring us into an encounter with God and His love, freedom and power to see spiritual growth and real change. I am amazed how God powerfully moves and tangibly transforms lives when we humbly submit to His lordship. Come and encounter community, powerful worship, good food and sessions led by Pastors Derrick, Joel and Avin Reimer, and Mark and Jenni Colwell. This is an opportunity where you can take your ‘list’ of things you are working ‘out’ and ask God to powerfully work ‘in’ you by His Spirit. Register here today.
See you Friday night and Saturday November 6 - 7.
Love you CLA,
Pastor Doug Frederick