The Christian life is not a passive endeavor, but requires work, your work and God’s work. Read this verse carefully:
Work out your own salvation with fear and trembling for it is God who works in you to will and to act according to His good purpose (Philippians 2: 12-13).
Look at these two types of work, your work and God’s work:
Your Work – The verse provides three careful phrases that indicate your part:
- Work Out – This takes action. Do something. Participate. Be responsible. It is a process and a journey. It’s up to you to keep moving on the path.
- Your Salvation – Think, this has to be personal. It has to fit your best and true self. You must think about how to act in ways that validate who you are in Christ, and move toward His intention, what He wants for you.
- With Fear and Trembling – This work can be emotional. You cannot simply think your way along the journey. Sometimes you have to “feel” your way down the path. This certainly means facing fears and conquering them with faith. But it also means that from time to time you will tremble, which is a deeply spiritual experience.
“Were you there when they crucified my Lord,
Were you there when they crucified my Lord, oh oh oh oh,
Sometimes it causes me to tremble, tremble, tremble.
Were you there when they crucified my Lord.”
God’s Work – Now look at what God is doing in you.
- Works in You –The Christian life doesn’t come with a compass and a map, but with a personal guide, the Holy Spirit. Jesus said, “I will not leave you as orphans… I will send a counselor, comforter, advocate, guide.” The work God does inside you is your guidance for working out your life in Him.
- To Will and to Act – While you are making decisions and taking action on the outside, God is making decisions and taking actions on the inside. And, He does this through the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit does not act on His own, but only in response to the Father and the Son. “Receive the Holy Spirit.”
- According to His Good Purpose – The Spirit’s work inside you is to empower you to live true to your best in Christ. The one who created you wants His good purpose seen in your and through you. You are God’s partner in being His saving love to the world.
Copyright © Richard Leslie Parrott, Ph.D.