January 29, 2023 | Doug Sauder
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“Therefore, my dear friends, as you have always obeyed—not only in my presence, but now much more in my absence—continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who works in you to will and to act in order to fulfill his good purpose.’”—Philippians 2:12–13 (NIV)
Here’s what we’ve established over the last few days:
And as today’s passage shows us, it’s actually God Himself who works in us and accomplishes His good and perfect purposes in, through, and around us. It’s He who works “in us what is pleasing to him, through Jesus Christ” and equips us “with everything good for doing his will” (Hebrews 13:21 NIV) and for “every good work” (2 Timothy 3:17 NIV).
So, after reading this, you may be thinking, Cool! So, God does it all and I just have to sit back and let Him do His thing, right? Well, yes, He does, but we can’t just sit back and do nothing. We have an active role in our purpose and in God’s work in our lives. As the first part of today’s passage says, we are to “continue to work out [our] salvation with fear and trembling.”
The word for work (katergazomai) essentially means to do your part with diligence, surrender, humility, and deep care. Therefore, we need to be devoted to working out our salvation the same way someone works out their muscles in the gym! Think about it, you don’t make your muscles grow, right? Your body does that on its own, so long as you’re consistent in your work outs and eating right.
So, what does this practically look like? It looks like being devoted to the study of the Word, to prayer, to worship, and to living in community with His people. It means hearing from Him, speaking to Him, and being connected to His people. That’s our role—intimacy with the Lord, growing in relationship with Him! It’s that simple, friends!
And as we spend time with Him, as we commit ourselves to daily study of the Bible and prayer, He works to grow us, make us strong, and bring about His good purposes! He “teaches us to say ‘No’ to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives in this present age” (Titus 2:12 NIV) and does “immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever!” (Ephesians 3:20–21 NIV).
So, we can take comfort in knowing that God does indeed do the work in us, so long as we spend time with Him and grow in relationship with our wonderful and loving Savior!
Pause: What’s our role in God accomplishing His purpose in our lives?
Practice: Read Philippians 2:1–18 today and reflect on it!
Pray: Father, thank You for who You are and all that You do. Thank You that it’s all about You and all depends on You; that Your good purposes aren’t dependent on my performance, but on Your faithfulness! I pray that as I continue to grow in intimacy with You, that You would do with me and in me all that You have for prepared and will for me. Amen.
Danny Saavedra is a licensed minister who has served on staff at Calvary since 2012, managing the Calvary Devotional and digital discipleship resources. He has a Master of Arts in Pastoral Counseling and Master of Divinity in Pastoral Ministry from Liberty Theological Seminary. His wife Stephanie, son Jude, and daughter Zoe share a love of Star Wars, good food, having friends over for dinner, and studying the Word together as a family.