Philippians 2:12-13 “Therefore, 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, for it is God who works in you to will and to act in order to fulfill his good purpose.”
God desires us to reach our full potential. He designed us and began a good work in us when we received Christ. The challenge is to work out what God has worked in! This does not mean we work for our salvation, but that we work to show the results of our salvation. How? Through obedience and deep reverence and respect for God.
The verb “work hard” or “work out” carries the meaning of working to full completion as in working out a maths problem. In the language of the New Testament, it was also used for mining, so that you could get out of the mine all the valuable ore possible or working a field to harvest the most crops possible.
God’s desire is for us to be conformed to the image of His Son; that we would begin to live and act like Christ. As the very life of Christ is formed within us, the Holy Spirit is at work in our hearts and minds enabling us to work out what He is working in that we may reach our full God-given potential in Christ! For God to accomplish His greater work through us, He must do a deeper work within us.
Working out what God has worked in, then, isn’t the result of strenuous effort or striving alone. Paul tells us, “.. for it is God who works in you to will and to act in order to fulfill his good purpose.” Aren’t you glad it’s not a matter of willpower but God’s power? And not only does God give us the power to do what pleases Him but He also gives us the desire to do it. Left alone, our desires are often self-serving and even sinful, and when they are good, we feel powerless to carry them out. But through the Holy Spirit, God is working in us.
The word there for working can also be understood as energy. We get our English word energyfrom this Greek word for ‘working.’ That means you have Divine energy to accomplish everything God has designed you to do! He energizes you by the Holy Spirit! The same Spirit that raised Christ from the dead lives within you and me and is at work within us to give us new desires and power to do what pleases God!
This is the secret to a changed life! Submit to His work in you and let Him do the work. You’ll find that as you obey God’s will, you gain an even greater desire to do it!