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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)

Heavenly Father, we LOVE the freedom grace gives us to work without any concern for merit or deserving, personal failure or not measuring up. Indeed, the gospel has freed us from every notion of earning (or losing) something as the motivation for our obedience. Because of Jesus' bold declaration, "It is finished!" we can now give ourselves to the unfinished business of your kingdom--with zero self-interest, fear, or pride.

And Father, thank you for the "inside job" you're accomplishing in us. As the Apostle Paul affirmed, you are the means and motivation we have for working for your "good pleasure." You get all credit for our desiring to do your will, and actually doing it. We are gratefully dependent on your Spirit's work in us.

To whatever extent you've already accomplished things through us that have been pleasing in your sight, we gladly affirm with Paul, it wasn't us, but "the grace of God that was with me." If there are any "crowns" in our future, they will all be cast at your feet (Rev. 4:10).

And looking ahead, our prayer remains the same: May your grace have even greater effect, in us and through us. Free us to live and love to your glory, not to bolster our reputation in the eyes of others, but simply as a way of demonstrating how much we love being loved by you.

Because we are certain of your "steadfast love," we want the rest of our days to be marked by "gospel risks," not by the rust of self-indulgence; by faith expressing itself in love, not simply by us getting ready for retirement. So very Amen we pray, in Jesus' exalted and loving 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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