Work it Out

By Greg Laurie

Therefore, 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. 

Philippians 2:12

Wouldn’t it be nice if you could hire someone to work out for you? When you don’t want to go to the gym, you simply pay someone to do it for you. But you can’t do that. You have to work out for yourself.

The Bible tells us, “Work out your own salvation with fear and trembling” (Philippians 2:12 NKJV). This carries the meaning of working to full completion. We don’t work for it, however; it’s a gift to us from God. But there’s work involved in the Christian life as we discover what God has done for us.

This isn’t something that someone else can do in your place. This is something that you must do for yourself. The apostle Paul gives this interesting thought in verse 12: “Therefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence . . .” (NKJV). Paul was writing to the believers in Philippi from prison. He couldn’t be there with them as he had been in the past.

The New Living Translation is helpful here: “Dear friends, you always followed my instructions when I was with you. And now that I am away, it is even more important. Work hard to show the results of your salvation, obeying God with deep reverence and fear.”

Paul was effectively saying, “You need to grow up spiritually. You can’t build your spiritual life on me, because it is God who works in you, not me.”

Sometimes we allow people to take the place of God in our lives. A husband chooses not to attend church because his wife doesn’t go anymore. Or the kids don’t go to church because their parents don’t.

You need your own relationship with God. Work out your own salvation.

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