X. OPERATING IN US
Philippians 2:13 says, "For it is God who operates in you both the willing and the working for His good pleasure." According to the context of this verse, God is operating in us both the willing and the working that our salvation may be carried out, brought to its ultimate conclusion. It is not that we by ourselves carry it out, but it is the issue of God’s operating in us. The only thing we need to do is to obey the inner operating God.
Here the willing is within; the working is without. The willing takes place in our will, indicating that God’s operation begins from our spirit and spreads into our mind, emotion, and will. Hence, God’s operation must begin from our spirit and spread into our will. The working is the action that takes place in our body, indicating that God’s operation not only begins from our spirit and spreads to our will, but it will even more reach our body. Therefore, our entire being—spirit, soul, and body—is under His operation, His direction. This corresponds also with Romans 8, which says that God works and operates from our spirit (v. 4), through our mind (v. 6), and eventually into our physical body (v. 11).
God operates in us for His good pleasure. God’s good pleasure is the good pleasure of His will (Eph. 1:5) that we may have sonship through Jesus Christ and reach the climax of God’s supreme salvation. Ephesians 3:20 says that God is "able to do superabundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power which operates in us." The power here is God’s resurrection power, not His creating power. God’s creating power produces the material things in our environment (Rom. 8:28), whereas God’s resurrection power accomplishes within our inward being the spiritual things for the church. Strictly, ask or think here does not refer to material things. Rather, it refers to the spiritual things related to the church, such as Christ making His home in our hearts (Eph. 3:17) and the church being filled unto all the fullness of God (v. 19). Concerning these spiritual things, we need to think as well as to ask. We might think more than we ask. However, God fulfills not only what we ask for the church but also what we think concerning the church, and God is able to do superabundantly above all that we ask or think.
When we experience and enjoy God the Father in the love of God, He operates in us to do superabundantly above all that we ask or think. Sometimes His operating is limited by our little faith. But other times, instead of caring for the smallness of our faith, God operates in us above our faith and superabundantly above all that we ask and think.
God the Father gives grace, even greater grace, in His love to the humble believers. By being proud toward God, man causes God to resist him. However, by being humble toward God, we believers cause God to give us grace as He desires. God the Father also comes with the Son to us and make an abode with us. If we love the Lord and keep His word, the Father with the Son will come to us and make an abode with us. The Father’s coming to us to abide in us is the issue of our abiding in Him and in His love. God abides in us to be our life inwardly and our living outwardly. God the Father also transmits to us the power which He operated in Christ. God’s power toward us, the believers, is the same as the power that He caused to operate in Christ. God the Father is transmitting this power to the church, the Body of His Son, Christ, the Head. Furthermore, God the Father operates in us that our salvation may be carried out, brought to its ultimate conclusion. He is also able to do superabundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power which operates in us, concerning all spiritual things related to the church.
- Briefly explain the significance of God’s giving grace to the humble.
- Briefly state how the Father and the Son come to us and make an abode with us.
- Briefly state the prerequisite of our experience and enjoyment of God’s abiding in us.
- What are the different aspects of the great power that God caused to operate in Christ?
- Briefly explain how God operates in us and the issue of His operation.
(Truth Lessons, Level 2, Vol. 3, Chapter 2, by Witness Lee)