This passage confused me for years.
Paul says, “Therefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling; for it is God who works in you to will and to do for His good pleasure.” (Phil 2:12-13)
The “work out your own salvation” part threw me off. I knew from studying the Word that salvation is not works-based.
After finally slowing down and pulling out trusted commentaries, I now understand what Paul is saying here. This “work out” is as one might work to dig out silver in a mine.
We are to diligently seek to dig out truth from the Word and apply it to our lives.
We are to be an active participant in our sanctification. We were never intended to stay infants in Christ.
As we participate in our spiritual growth, God works in us to will and do for His good pleasure.
All the while, God is able to marry our free will with His perfect will (in a way my human mind just can’t totally conceive) to achieve His good purposes.
So here’s my take away—God wants us to see the benefit in seeking Him. It’s like digging for treasure. He’s standing beside us and will strengthen us, but He expects us to pick up our tools and get to work.
As we pray, as we read, as we study, and as we serve others, He does more in and through us than we could ever ask or imagine on our own.
And, and this is really important—reading these devotionals I write is not nearly enough. I love studying with you, but God wants to speak to YOU as YOU open His Word on your own.
Devotionals, Bible studies, podcasts etc are all great (assuming they stay true to the Word) but none of these things can replace you intimately opening up the Bible and listening for your Father to speak to you and your circumstances, worries, and dreams, through those Holy Spirit inspired words.
Not every day will blow your mind. There will be days you wonder why you read what you just read in the Bible.
Oh, but there will be moments when you will hear His voice speaking to you in ways you’ll know were intended just for you.
And when THAT happens!! Oh my goodness! It’s indescribable! The God of the Universe makes His presence known!
Oh friend, He is near. He is good! And as He told us through His prophet, those who seek Him with their whole hearts, find Him! (Jer 29:13)