One of the most difficult things for me is to have the discipline to work out. And I realize that much of my exercise is limited by my ability. I can only do so much.
Wouldn’t it be great if we could do great workouts, because we’ve already been given the ability? I wish I could go out and dunk a basketball or hit a baseball 400 feet, or swim 2000 meters. I wish I could just have the ability, and then I have to do to is to go out and do it.
In our walks with God, we have a remarkable “workout.” God gives us the ability, the will, the desire, to do what’s pleasing to Him, and all we have to do is go out and do it. God does the work in, we do the work out.
The apostle Paul wrote:
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,
In Philippians 2, Paul calls the believers to have the same attitude as Jesus Christ, who humbled himself in obedience to the Father, that even though he was God, he put aside his status and became like a servant. When Paul says “therefore” in verse 12, we know that somehow what he’s going to write is connected with us having the same obedient attitude as Christ.
Paul goes on, “therefore, just as you’ve always obeyed, not just in my presence but even more in my absence.” Paul is proud of this group of believers because they’ve shown that they have been obedient to God. They’ve lived according to what is pleasing to God, and have done things in accordance to His will and His character. And Paul says that they’ve obeyed not just in his presence but also when he’s been away.
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.
Verse 13 tells us that it is God who is the one who works in us. He’s working in you, he’s working in me. That in the heart of a believer, God the Holy Spirit has changed our hearts. The Bible talks about how part of salvation is God taking our heart of stone and replacing it with a heart of flesh. A heart that wants to obey God, a heart that wants to serve Him and do what’s pleasing to Him. So here it says that God has worked in us. He’s worked inside us. And we have to work out what God’s already worked in us. God does the work in, and we do the work out.
What is God challenging you to obey Him with? Maybe God’s been telling you to forgive someone who has really hurt you. If so, would you work out your salvation, what God’s already done in you, so that you can forgive that person? Maybe God’s been challenging you to step up in ministry. If so, would you work out your salvation, what God has already done in you, so that you can serve Him and do it well? Maybe God’s been moving you to get rid of a sinful habit: maybe gossip, maybe laziness, or maybe pornography. Would you work out your salvation, what God has already done in you, and put in some good habits instead?
Remember, this is not working hard without God. God does the work in, we do the work out. God does the work in, we do the work out. And God has already given us the desire and the will to do what is pleasing to him. Because of this, in the end, we wont’ be saying “look how faithful we are for working hard” but we’ll be saying “Look how great God is for working in us.” We just need to work it out. Will you join me for the best workout?