It is God who works in you to will and to act in order to fulfill his good purpose.Philippians 2:13
My father and I used to fell trees and cut them to size with a two-man crosscut saw. Being young and energetic, I tried to force the saw into the cut. “Easy does it,” my father would say. “Let the saw do the work.”
I think of Paul’s words in Philippians: “It is God who works in you” (2:13). Easy does it. Let Him do the work of changing us.
C. S. Lewis said that growth is much more than reading what Christ said and carrying it out. He explained, “A real Person, Christ, . . . is doing things to you . . . gradually turning you permanently into . . . a new little Christ, a being which . . . shares in His power, joy, knowledge and eternity.”
God is at that process today. Sit at the feet of Jesus and take in what He has to say. Pray.“Keep yourselves in God’s love” (Jude 1:21), reminding yourself all day long that you are His. Rest in the assurance that He’s gradually changing you.
“But shouldn’t we hunger and thirst for righteousness?” you ask. Picture a small child trying to get a gift high on a shelf, his eyes glittering with desire. His father, sensing that desire, brings the gift down to him.
The work is God’s;the joy is ours.Easy does it. We shall get there some day.
12Therefore, 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,13for it is God who works in you to will and to act in order to fulfill his good purpose. 14Do everything without grumbling or arguing,15so that you may become blameless and pure, “children of God without fault in a warped and crooked generation.”[a]Then you will shine among them like stars in the sky16as you hold firmly to the word of life. And then I will be able to boast on the day of Christ that I did not run or labor in vain.17But even if I am being poured out like a drink offering on the sacrifice and service coming from your faith, I am glad and rejoice with all of you.18So you too should be glad and rejoice with me.
What does it mean to you that “It is God who works in you”?
What do you want Him to do in you?
Today’s passage begins with “therefore” (v. 12), building on the teaching in verses 1–11 to follow Jesus’ humility and selfless and sacrificial example as we live out this Christlike life. In instructing us to “continue to work out [our] salvation with fear and trembling” (v. 12), Paul isn’t saying that we’re to work for our salvation, for our salvation is a gift from God(Ephesians 2:8–9).
Rather, Paul reminds us of our responsibility as believers in Jesus. Now that we’re saved, we’re to “work hard to show the results of [our] salvation” (Philippians 2:12 nlt). By the empowerment of the Spirit, we’re to “produce fruit in keeping with repentance” (Matthew 3:8), to show to the world that we’re “blameless and pure, ‘children of God without fault in a warped and crooked generation,’ ” and to shine “like stars in the sky” in a world darkened by sin (Philippians 2:15).
God, I’m grateful that You’re changing my heart and actions to make me like Jesus. Please give me a humble attitude to learn from You. In Jesus name, I pray. Amen!!