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It is God who works in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure. (Phil. 2:13 NIV) 

But by the grace of God I am what I am, and his grace to me was not without effect. No, I worked harder than all of them—yet not I, but the grace of God that was with me. (1 Cor. 15:10 NIV) 

The Lord will fulfill his purpose for me; your steadfast love, O Lord, endures forever. (Psalm 138:8 ESV)

Dear heavenly Father, O the blessed freedom of giving ourselves to "good works," without any concern about merit or demerit. The gospel has “trashed” every notion earning your blessing or smile, as the motivation for our obedience. Because of Jesus’ bold declaration, “It is finished,” we now give ourselves to the unfinished business of your kingdom with zero self-interest. You cannot love us more, and you'll never love us less.

And Father, thank you for the “inside job” you’re accomplishing in us. According to these Scriptures, you're at work in our hearts to will and to work for your pleasure. We can take credit for zilch, nada, nothing. Such good news doesn’t make us passive, but active, as we give ourselves to the things that matter most to you.

Father, to whatever extent you've already accomplished anything through us, pleasing and honoring in your sight, we gladly affirm with Paul, it wasn’t us, but “the grace of God that was with us.” If we should gain any crowns for our service, they're for casting at Jesus' feet, not for balancing on our heads.

And looking ahead, our prayer remains the same. May your grace have even greater effect--in us and through us. Free us to love your glory over our reputation; your transforming kingdom over our tiny fiefdoms; your story of reconciliation and redemption, over our default mode of personal peace and being appreciated.

Because we're confident you'll accomplish your good work inside us (Phil. 1:6), and because we're certain of your “steadfast love,” may the rest of our days to be marked by faith expressing itself in love and grace expressing itself in servanthood. So very Amen we pray, in Jesus’ wonderful and merciful name.


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Scotty Smith

Scotty Smith is the founding pastor of Christ Community Church in Franklin, Tennessee. You can follow him on Twitter.

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