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
Have you ever wondered what Paul meant by “work out your own salvation”? I have. The Bible tells us salvation is a free gift of God’s grace, and it is not of works, lest anyone should boast (Eph. 2:9). So what does it mean to work out our salvation? I was having a discussion with Bill Welte about that just this morning. I had read his morning Freedom Fighter (yes, I know it’s for men… read it anyway: http://freedomfightersblog.com/ – You Choose, Part 1, 12.7.15).
We do have responsibilities as we live, day to day, as believers. God has given us a gift – what we do with it is up to us. He won’t use it for us, or make us use it. For example, He has given us protection from the enemy – the armor of God (Eph. 6:10-17), but we have to put it on daily – He won’t drop it on us as we hop (or crawl) out of bed. We have to make a conscious choice to clothe ourselves in armor that will protect us and prepare us for the day.
“Watch and pray, lest you enter into temptation. The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak” (Mark 14:38). Again, we are responsible to watch and pray – He will answer and supply but our part is to watch and pray.
And while we know that the enemy comes to steal, kill and destroy (John 10:10), our job is to resist him. “Therefore submit to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you” (James 4:7). And in order to be able to resist, we have to first submit to God. If we couldn’t do it, James wouldn’t have instructed us to. “Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour” (1 Peter 5:8).
We need to study the Word so we know what God expects of us as we work out our salvation, and as we study the Word, He will equip and enable us to withstand temptation, as well as for every good work that He has prepared for us to do (Eph. 2:10).
If you’ve stumbled and fallen because you were unprepared for the attack of the enemy, the story is not over. Get up, brush yourself off, and confess to the Father who promises to forgive (1 John 1:9). Then get back on track by daily putting on your armor, watching and praying, submitting to God and resisting the devil – and watch God work in and through you.