God who is at work in you, both to will and to work for His good pleasure. – Philippians 2:13
20 Now may the God of peace – who brought up from the dead our Lord Jesus, the great Shepherd of the sheep, and ratified an eternal covenant with his blood –
21 may he equip you with all you need for doing his will. May he produce in you, through the power of Jesus Christ, every good thing that is pleasing to him. All glory to him forever and ever! Amen.
Chariots of Fire, released April 9, 1982, is the inspirational story of two British world-class athletics and their preparation and participation in the 1924 Olympic Games.
The film is anchored in the character study of the two athletes. Harold Abrahams is a super athlete of extraordinary ability and determination. His only goal is to win. He is addicted to running. His inner drive and turmoil are summarized in one phrase, “If I cannot win, I will not run.” Abrahams is a tortured soul who feels isolated and persecuted because of his Jewish heritage. He paraphrases the well-worn adage, I am invited to the trough, but not allowed to drink.
Eric Liddell is pretty much just the opposite. He is intrinsically good, faithful to his family, his country, his friends, and ultimately to the Lord Jesus Christ and the Kingdom of God. He knows that it is the Father’s strength that surges from within. The Father’s power gives Eric his supernatural drive, will, and the force to win against seemingly impossible odds. Liddell triumphs by tapping into the reservoir of the Father’s great strength which courses within, and bursts forth as needed.
Liddell unequivocally states, “Everyone runs in her own way, or his own way. And where does the power come from, to see the race to its end? From within. Jesus said, ‘Behold, the Kingdom of God is within you. If with all your hearts, you truly seek me, you shall ever surely find me.’ If you commit yourself to the love of Christ, then that is how you run a straight race.”
His motivation and driving force is summed up in one statement, “I believe God made me for a purpose, but he also made me fast. And when I run, I feel His pleasure.”
The Duke of Sutherland comments, “The ‘lad’ is a true man of principles and a true athlete. His speed is a mere extension of his life, its force.”
All too frequently, children of the King are confused about the Father’s role in our lives. Sadly, our lack of knowledge and confusion create a warped misunderstanding. Many view the Father as a kindly, warm, grandfather figure who wants to make us feel good and spoil us with good things. While He is a loving Father who is good and kind and caring, providing for us, He does not exist to serve us. We exist to serve Him.
The reality is that we exist for the Father. Everything about us has been designed by the Father to equip us for the work He preordained long before our birth. The Father created us for His purposes. He has equipped every child of the King to serve Him in some fashion. He has a unique desire for each of us. We serve at his pleasure (Stanley).
We are His workmanship. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago (Ephesians 2:10).
Our greatest sense of well-being and self-satisfaction comes when we discover what the Father is doing and how He has invited us to participate with Him. When we do what He made us to do, we find great delight and contentment. Doing His pleasure, we feel His pleasure.
REFLECT & PRAY
Each child of the King is encouraged to pray for one another that they will be completely equipped to do the Father’s good pleasure in and through their lines.
Father, you are the Potter and I am the clay. You made me to participate in what you are doing on earth. Encourage my heart to do the good pleasure of Your will.
He has equipped us with all we need for doing His will. His plan is to produce in us, through the power of Jesus Christ, every good thing that is pleasing to Him (Hebrews 13:21).
The Greek word translated equip is katartizo. Katartizo essentially means to prepare, make ready, or suitable in advance for some particular purpose. Here it means “to equip one for service” (Wuest).
The Father wants to give to us all that is good which we need in order to do what He wants you to do, that is, all that is good and necessary in order to do what He desires us to do (UBS).
Each of us is uniquely created by the Father with the exact personality and body we would need to fulfill His purpose for our life. He has equipped us with the strengths, abilities, and talents necessary to do what He planned for us. Every experience in our life is used by the Father to equip us for doing His will. Both the pleasant and difficult times shape our character, mature us spiritually, and train us to help others (Stanley).
There is something magnificent here that easily escapes our notice. Because we are the Father’s workmanship created to do His good pleasure, the Father is “all in” to make it happen. The writer of Hebrews is not praying to get the Father to do what he desires Him to do. Rather, he is praying that the Father’s will be done on earth as it is in heaven for every child of the King.
“Our Savior in heaven wants to equip us for life on earth. Tenderly, He wants to set the ‘broken bones” in our lives so that we might walk straight and run our life-races successfully. He wants to repair the breaks in the nets so that we might catch fish. He wants to equip us for battle and outfit us so that we will and be battered in the storms of life. In brief, He wants to mature us so that He can work in us and through us that which pleases Him and accomplishes His will” (Wiersbe).
2 Corinthians 9:8 And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that always having all sufficiency in everything, you may have an abundance for every good deed.
Eric Liddell understood this and felt the Father’s pleasure within himself when doing His pleasure. Liddell clearly had his priorities straight, “It has been a wonderful experience to compete in the Olympic Games and to bring home a gold medal. But since I have been a young lad, I have had my eyes on a different prize. You see, each one of us is in a greater race than any I have run in Paris, and this race ends when God gives out the medals” (Liddell).
“God uniquely created each of us, and He’s provided us with everything we need to serve and glorify Him. All we must do is step out in obedience with full reliance on His grace and power” (Stanley).