What sent me into my little twitter spasm about love this afternoon?  It was when the guy on Christian radio peddled the unquestioned wisdom of popular psychology: “Love isn’t an emotion.  It’s an act of the will.”

Why do Christian counselors say such things?  Why do so many of us believe them when they do?  I think this particular overstatement about love is frequently made and readily believed because it gives us hope for our broken relationships.  We think that if we don’t have to feel something in order to love, then we can do something to fix the relationship.  The only problem with this line of thinking is that it isn’t true. Read the rest of this entry »

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God At Work In You

August 19, 2009

Colossians 1:29 says:

For this I toil, struggling with all his energy that he powerfully works within me.

God’s sovereignty doesn’t undermine human responsibility; it empowers and inspires a Godward response to God’s grace. J. I. Packers said:

The Holy Spirit’s ordinary way of working in us is through the working of our own minds and wills. He moves us to act. Thus our conscious, rational selfhood, so far from being annihilated, is strengthened, and in reverent, resolute obedience we work out our salvation, knowing that God is at work in us to make us “…both…will and … work for his good pleasure” (Phil 2:12-13).

Sam Storms helpfully makes the following observation about how we might know when God is energetically and powerfully working in us.

If, when you are slandered, you respond by entreating (1Cor 4:13), you can rest assured that divine energy is working mightily in you. If, when you are reviled, you bless instead of curse (1Cor 4:12), you can rest assured that divine energy is working mightily in you. If, when you are persecuted, you can endure (1Cor 4:12), you can rest assured that divine energy is working mightily in you. If, when you are afflicted but not crushed, are perplexed but do not yield to despair, are struck down but not destroyed, you may rest assured that divine energy is mightily at work within you (2Cor 4:8-9). If, when you are sorrowful and still rejoice, possess nothing but you are rich, you may rest assured that divine energy is working mightily within you (2Cor 6:10). If, when you are in poverty and give generously and joyfully (2Cor 8:1), you may rest assured that divine energy is working mightily in you.

You probably won’t feel anything. There’s no guaranteed that your body will vibrate or your appearance will change. But if you find yourself responding and thinking as Jesus would, if you find yourself acting or choosing contrary to every fleshly and sinful impulse, you may rest assured that divine energy is mightily at work in you.