Philippians 2:13 for it is God who works in you both to will and to do for His good pleasure.
The greatest gift in life is Jesus. He literally took our sins and made us pure. He prepared us to be God's dwelling place.
I find it amazing that as I learn to recognize Him, He becomes so real. And He is available anytime I need for courage, wisdom, or love. He is readily available to break bondage over my life. When He looks at me, He does not see my sins; He sees a treasure, a child of God.
The first nineteen years as a Christian, I wrestled with a smoking addiction. I did not think God wanted me as a smoker. The truth is, He loved me no matter what. When I realized that, I gave up on trying to quit smoking. Wow, what freedom I felt. Smoking no longer condemned me in God's presence. I would talk to Him and even pray with a cigarette in my hand.
One day I realized, I still wanted to quit smoking. Not because I had to, smoking was a waste of time and money. It was terribly inconvenient, especially in winter. It had all kinds of side effects. I wanted to be free of this bondage. I understood that Jesus came to set the captives free (1). I wanted His help.
The first thing I did was to thank Him for this freedom from bondage. I still had the addiction but I thanked Him for freedom almost every time I lit a smoke. For me, it took a couple of weeks. Everybody is different.
After a couple of weeks, I asked God why I was still smoking. After all, He told me that He came to set me free. All of the sudden a voice came from inside me---stop putting them in your mouth. I was so afraid to quit; I tried so many times before and failed. However, I knew the voice was from inside my heart so I gave it a shot. Wow---the cravings were gone.
Two things I want to bring to your attention about our verse at the top. First, notice it says God works inside you. Next, notice the word His in italics. That word was never in the original text. God works in us for good pleasure---ours and His. When we are happy---God is happy. We are His treasure.
Most of my Christian walk, I believed I had to make God happy. I realize now there is only one way to do that---let God make me happy. I talk to Him and listen to what He has to say inside me. If it agrees with His word and does not condemn me (2), it is the voice of God.
(1) Luke 4:18 (NLT) “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me [Jesus], for he has anointed me to bring Good News to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim that captives will be released, that the blind will see, that the oppressed will be set free.
(2) John 3:17 (NLT)
God sent his Son into the world not to judge the world, but to save the world through him.