Living the saved life each day
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. For God is working in you, giving you the desire and the power to do what pleases him. Do everything without complaining and arguing, so that no one can criticize you. Live clean, innocent lives as children of God, shining like bright lights in a world full of crooked and perverse people. Hold firmly to the word of life; then, on the day of Christ’s return, I will be proud that I did not run the race in vain and that my work was not useless. Philippians 2:12-16 Are you discouraged because the Christian life is more difficult and challenging than you expected? Don’t be. One of the ironies of the Christian life is that God’s gifts often require that we claim what he gave us and work on it. God told the Israelites that He will bring them to the Promised Land and told them He was going to “give” it to them (Numbers 13:2). Attaining the gift of the Promised Land flowing with milk and honey sounded great to the Israelites. But when they sent out spies to scout the place God told them to occupy, ten reported that it would be impossible for them to do so for they have to fight what seemed to be powerful cities! Perhaps they assumed that they could just walk in but God told them that they would have to fight for it. Yet God promised that He would be present and would provide them the strength to defeat their enemies. God being on their side would provide them the advantage but they would still have to stand up and fight. It was only Joshua and Caleb, the other two spies, who were willing to take God at His word. “Look! He has placed the land in front of you. Go and occupy it as the Lord, the God of your ancestors, has promised you. Don’t be afraid! Don’t be discouraged!’” (Deuteronomy 1:21). It would be wonderful if when we become Christians that God would just fill our minds with a complete knowledge of the Bible and with Scripture verses already memorized. How convenient it would be if God would make it automatic instilling in us a delight in spending hours in prayer each day. But God doesn’t relate to us that way for as Paul said from the text, “Work hard to show the results of your salvation, obeying God with deep reverence and fear.” God gives us the free gift of His salvation and we are to act in ways consistent to the new life God gave us. Our attitudes and behaviors will be a reflection of God’s working in and through us. What God expects from us is possible not because of our own efforts but because He indwells us and we allow Him to work in us. “For God is working in you, giving you the desire and the power to do what pleases him” (v. 13).
Noel De Guzman