God Thought 1/4/23

Worthy of Our Every Effort
By Isabelle Logan

“And now that I am away, it is even more important. Work hard to show the results of your salvation, obeying God with deep reverence and fear.”—Philippians 2:12 (NLT)

Have you ever scrolled through social media on your phone during class or at work? And then, the minute your teacher or boss came around, you immediately changed what you were doing to make sure you looked like you were working hard. Here’s the thing: We choose to be on our phones versus working during those moments because we’d rather be distracted instead of working hard.

In this portion of Philippians 2, Paul encourages the church in Philippi to not just pull a classic “work hard only when you’re being watched,” but, out of great love for them, that they’d “continue to work out [their] salvation with fear and trembling” (Philippians 2:12 NIV). Especially, and even more so now, because he’s no longer physically with them.

Friends, the call to work out our salvation with fear and trembling—not just when people are looking at us, but even more so in their absence—is the same for us today. But what does this mean exactly? It partly means that our salvation is not just a ticket to heaven. Rather, our salvation should radically alter the way we live because our God who rescued us is worthy of all that we are and all that we have; therefore, He’s worthy of us making every effort to live the way He’s called us to live. Philippians 2:12 (NLT) puts it this way, “Work hard to show the results of your salvation, obeying God with deep reverence and fear.”

How do we do this? Well, actually, WE can’t! In verse 13, Paul essentially says that GOD is the one who is at work within us, giving us the desire to please Him and the power to actually live the way He calls us to. So, while it’s true that we cannot “work out our salvation with fear and trembling” in our own strength, it’s also so powerfully true that by surrendering to the work of God within and through us, we’ll live the way we’ve been called to in these verses. Just take a moment to think about that! The God who created the universe is at work within us because He treasures us and delights in working in and through us.

So, if God is at work in and through us, we’re definitely going to look different. This means by the power of His Spirit, we’re going to choose not to grumble or dispute (Philippians 2:14), we’re going to be a light in a dark world (Philippians 2:15), we’re going to hold firmly to the word of life (Philippians 2:16), and we’re going to do as Paul, Timothy, and Epaphroditus did and give all that we are for the sake of advancing God’s kingdom (Philippians 2:17).

Let’s turn away from being people who perform like Christians only when people are watching. Let’s be the sons and daughters who “work hard to show the results of [our] salvation” (Philippians 2:12 NLT) because the God who purchased our salvation is worthy of all that we are.

Pause: Spend a few moments reflecting on how God Himself is at work within you.

Practice: What would it look like for you to work out your salvation with fear and trembling?

Pray: God, thank You that You’re at work within me. Help me to surrender to the work You’re doing in and through me and to live as You’ve called me to. Amen.

YouVersion Bible Study
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