He is Always Working On Us
We have all heard little sayings like, “Be patient, God isn’t finished with me yet.” Sounds cute but it is true, too. As much as we grow and develop spiritually in our walk with God, He has not finished with us. He will be working on us until we come to the end of this earthly life and meet Him. Then, according to Scripture, we will be made perfect… finished. As long as we live on this earth, God is always working on us and making us more like His dear Son.
The last couple of devotionals have been about thinking like Jesus thinks, that Jesus is actually God and that He became a man on earth to do the work of salvation. Today, we are talking about being saved and Christian growth.
Philippians 2:12-13 NIV
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 according to His good purpose.
According to these verses, God works and so do we, huh?
Let’s get started in Verse 12:
We can always know that when we see therefore it is pointing back to what has already been said. Now, Paul is pointing back to the first part of Chapter 2 – about being Christ-like in how we treat others and how we think.
“…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 in fear and trembling…”
It seems that Paul saw the obedience of the Philippians and knew that they were not just doing it to please him, but to please God. This is a sign of true salvation and that was very important to Paul. People who have not really committed their hearts and lives to Christ will not have this kind of evidence in their lives… not for long anyway. A genuine commitment to Christ shows long-term.
This long-term commitment – being obedient to God and His Word… even when no one is looking or listening… is the “working out of salvation”.
Fear and Trembling
When you came to Christ and realized that He was really Holy God, did you kind of fear His holiness and His power? I did. If we are smart and, more importantly, if we are genuine Christ Followers we always will have that “fear and trembling” in our hearts as we approach Him. He is God – He is mighty – He is holy. He is to be taken very seriously.
As He works in our hearts and makes us more like Him, we must take Him seriously. It is so easy, when we feel convicted by the Holy Spirit about something, to say, “Oh yeah, I need to stop that.” Then the next time we do it we just say the same thing again and keep on going. We need to stop, think about what we are doing, and allow Him to deal with us.
Now onto Verse 13:
“…for it is God who works in you to will and to act according to His good purpose.”
So, it is God who works and we who cooperate. We cannot fix ourselves but we can be ready to do what He leads us to, so He can fix us.
He works in us according to His will and His good purpose. The ESV says good pleasure. It brings God pleasure when we obey, doesn’t it?
Don’t you love knowing when you have done something that was pleasing to God? The best part is, even then He gets the credit because He works through us. So, when we obey, we can still stay humble because we know we cannot obey without His help.
A Little at a Time
God will, indeed, be working on us all of our lives. He could just knock us over the head and make us instantly never want to lie, be selfish or sin in any way ever again. Sometimes I wish He would just do that. But, He works on us a little at a time. He does things His way. His working on us is an act of His love for us. He disciplines those He loves. See Revelation 3:19.
So, today, when you feel Him prick your heart as you say something you should not, just know that He loves you and wants you closer to Him, then, be obedient and let Him bring you closer.
Lord, I thank You for loving us and showing us that love by helping us to learn how to glorify You. Help us, please, to learn quickly and easily so that we can glorify You more effectively and please You with our lives. I ask You that You will make our hearts sensitive to Your voice and Your conviction. Make us what You want us to be. In Jesus’s name, I pray. Amen.