March 13, 2013
Philippians 2:12, 13
Here is a gem I mined from the Bible a few years ago. It has helped me perhaps more in my Christian life than any other single truth I have discovered. If you can embrace this gem for living, it will revolutionize the way you live out your life in the Lord!
You see, I struggled with being obedient to what God wanted me to do. I know, we all struggle. But I mean I struggled! I have an addictive/compulsive personality that has battled against what the Word plainly tells me to do. After going through all sorts of psychological and personality tests at The Center For Career Development And Ministry near Boston, I have the dubious distinction of being told by the director, “You are the most addictive person to have ever gone through our facility!” Gee, thanks!
So I have struggled – against addictions to tobacco, alcohol, drugs, pornography, over-eating, and a few more things I can’t think of at the moment! I totally identified with what Paul wrote in Romans 7:15-24 (NIV),
I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I
hate I do. I know that nothing good lives in me, that is, in my sinful nature.
For I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out. For what
I do is not the good I want to do; no, the evil I do not want to do—this I keep
on doing….For in my inner being I delight in God’s law; but I see another
law at work in the members of my body, waging war against the law of my
mind and making me a prisoner of the law of sin at work within my members.
What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body of death?
I just could not seem to come into what Paul exclaimed in I Corinthians 15:57 (NIV):
But thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.
Then I discovered Philippians 2:12 & 13:
Wherefore, 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 both to will and to do of His good
Now if Paul had stopped at verse 12, I would still be in the same predicament. In effect he said, “I have told you what you are supposed to do in your Christian life. Go, and work it out – do it – with fear and trembling!” I had the fear and trembling part down pretty well. But how was I supposed to work out my salvation so God would be pleased with me? After all, the one thing I want to hear when I stand before my Lord is “Well done, good and faithful servant,” ( Matthew 25:23).
But go on to verse 13:
For it is God who works in you both to will and to do of His good pleasure.
This is the key, the gem, to working out my salvation. Paul says that God works in me, not just to do it, but also to will it. He gives me the want to! And I have learned that when I really want to do something, I have no trouble at all in doing it!
All I have to do is have the courage to come before my God and confess, “Lord, I’m not sure I even want to do this, what you are asking me to do. Would you work within me to give me the want to as well as the do it? Thank you, Lord. Amen. Guess what? He does just that! And it has made all the difference in living out my Christian life before Him. No longer is it a struggle, but I seem to relax a lot more and rest in Him, letting Him do it in me and through me.
I hope this helps you in your Christian life as much as it has helped mine.