There it is, the words bright black on white: “Work out your own salvation with fear and trembling” (Philippians 2:12). I’m reading the bible on an app on my phone–Paul’s message to the Philippians provision for any woman starved. And these words are more than an invitation to more life; they are a promise.
I will be saved from myself–from my fear and my ingratitude and my pride–when I do the hard work, each day, of trusting God to lead.
Working out our salvation means stepping off of any pedestal we’ve stopped onto and looking to God on His throne.
Working out our salvation means asking God to show us the beauty of the right now, this very moment, and rejecting ingratitude, confessing envy, surrendering regret.
Working out our salvation means eating God’s words as our food and listening to our Counselor, the Holy Spirit, as He whispers stay . . . turn right . . . turn left.
Working out our salvation means just that: doing the hard work of waiting on God, even if He feels silent; confessing sin even though it feels like we’re going to die (I get it); choosing to love the person right in front of us, and the next person God brings our way.
There’s more of God here than we can see. There is more of God here than we can hear and taste and feel. Do you, like me, want more? More of God? Do you, like me, love that we get to do something to get more of Him? Do you, like me, love that He says we get to “work out our salvation” with Him?
Father, help us seek You to find You. Help us to find You and love You more. Help us to work out our salvation with fear and with trembling, doing whatever it takes.
There’s no other life we want to live.
P.S. Friends, God answers these prayers. As I typed the words above, “choosing to love the next person God brings our way”, a man in a wheelchair, with one leg, a paper grocery bag in his lap, rolled up the sidewalk, near where Justin and I sat outside, at a table. I made eye contact, and smiled. He stopped and asked to pet Fulton, our dog, who was curled up under my chair. We chatted for a few minutes, learning about his years of working in a veterinarian’s office and stories about his working with different kinds of dogs. After a little while, he said he needed to go, and he picked up his paper back and rolled down the sidewalk. . . And I remembered my prayer.
Working out our salvation is always going to mean receiving God’s love so we can love others. Father, help us live our lives doing that.
P.P.S. You have a few more hours to enter to win a copy of Nancy Ortberg’s book, Looking for God. You can enter here, before 9 pm tonight, PST. I’m giving away two copies, and I’ll post the names of the two winners, tomorrow, on Facebook.
Want to join me prayer? What do you think about Paul’s words–“work out our salvation”?