Working or Resting

Philippians 2:12–13 ‘Work out your salvation with fear and trembling…’ (v12)

There are definitely two kinds of Christian. There are those who have a very high trust in the sovereignty of God and His work in their lives.

There are those who have a strong sense of responsibility to do things to please God. Verses 12 and 13 of our passage today encourage us to make sure we don’t go too far one or the other, but ensure that the two ideas are balanced.

Verse 13 reads: ‘for it is God who works in you to will and to act in order to fulfil his good purpose.’ Working out our salvation does of course imply us getting involved. But God doesn’t ask us to work for our salvation.

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If we focussed just on our efforts, we would be disappointed, for no amount of willpower can affect the changes that Jesus is looking for, hence the mention of God’s work. We shouldn’t act without God, and He won’t act without us! As John put it: ‘We love because He first loved us’ (1 John 4:19).

The initiative comes from God, but He looks for a response. He is the divine lover, wooing us into His arms, and so today we have the opportunity to be active in our faith, knowing that God is right there with us, prospering every good effort in His name.


A Prayer To Make:
‘Thank You, Lord, that my growth doesn’t depend on me,
but neither am I unimportant in the process. Amen.’

An Action To Take:
If you are working too hard: relax and pray. If the opposite is true, start doing more!

Scripture To Consider:
Judg. 3:1–4; Ezek. 18:1–13; 2 Cor. 4:3–6; 1 John 4:13–21

Micha Jazz is Director of Resources at Waverley Abbey, UK.