“For God is working in you, giving you the desire and the power to do what pleases him” (Philippians 2:13, NLT).

Most religions feel the need to give people work to do to keep them in the mode of earning their place in heaven. Fear of losing out or even having a lesser position or reward is a way of keeping them under control. Legalism perpetuates the cycle of obey, disobey, fearfully repent, obey, ad infinitum. The conditioned response becomes one of work harder, do more, repent deeper.

This verse has always been encouraging to me, especially in those times I have willfully or even accidentally (OK, it’s rarely accidental) done something wrong. It’s impossible for us to stop sinning on our own and at times, equally impossible to want to stop. Thankfully God works in us, giving us not just the power to please him but the desire. Oh how he knows us!