A couple weeks ago, the focus of the lesson was rooted in Hebrews 12:28-29, with our attention being on the idea of “reverence and godly fear.” The text read just before the lesson was Philippians 2:12-13 where Paul exhorts his readers, which includes us, to “work out your own salvation with fear and trembling.” So much emphasis has been given to our responsibility to grow in Christ, pursuing His likeness in all that we say and do. Although I don’t want to detract from that reality in the Christian’s walk, I don’t want to make it seem that it is all about what I do, leaving God to ask the question, “What about Me?” The fact of the matter is that God is hard at work in us as well.
For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works,
which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.
For those who are in Christ Jesus, we are there for a reason; that is, for good works. Those “good works” don’t always come naturally; thus, we need to work out our salvation…but not alone! Paul informs us in Philippians 2:13 that “it is God who works in you both to will and to do for His good pleasure.” The word work means, to effect. God is intimately involved in the Christian’s life to effect change. This caused me to think about Paul’s initial words to the church in Philippi, where he says, “…being confident of this very thing, that He who has begun a good work in you will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ…” (Philippians 1:6). God is on a mission, and if you are in Christ Jesus, you are part of His project.
For the church in Philippi, the “good works” was in part their effort in helping Paul spread the gospel, or as Paul writes, “your fellowship in the gospel.” I mention this for a reason. God’s efforts in our lives are simply for us to grow as individuals, although that is part of the process. He is also actively involved in our efforts to further His kingdom and spread the hope of Christ. This caused me to stop and think about my maturity or personal growth and ask myself a question, “Is my pursuit to grow simply about me?” What about Him?