“Therefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, so now, not only as in my presence but much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who works in you to will and to work for His good pleasure.” Phil 2:12,13 (ESV)
Hudson Taylor was a physician and missionary to China. The mission agency he started grew to become the largest missionary organization at that time. One of Taylor’s distinctives was his commitment to never ask for money because he believed that God Himself would supply all of their needs.
Hudson Taylor is a great example as we continue exploring the idea of working out our salvation. In verse 13 we discover that there is another piece to the process of working out our salvation. Yesterday we discovered that our part of the process is to actively seek what God wants of us.
Verse 13 reveals that God also has an active role. Again, what Paul is referring to here with the phrase “…work out your own salvation…” is working out the results of our salvation… how we are to live out our lives. In other words…what exactly does God want me to do?
Paul reminds us that God is actively involved in leading us into the works He has planned for us. He works with us to find and stay on that right path in our life. However, it requires that we learn to “listen” to the leadings and promptings of the indwelling Spirit.
One of God’s purposes for putting His Spirit within us…is to lead us! This requires that we learn to take the time to listen while we pray, rather than just adopting the habit of speaking at God. Prayer should be a two-way communication…not us telling God what we want Him to do for us. Jesus promised us in John 10:16 that we would hear His voice. We simply need to develop the habit of listening.
The summary is that we should actively seek His leading with fear and trembling, having faith that the Lord will lead us through His indwelling Spirit to work in our lives for His good pleasure.
Prayer: Lord, help me learn to recognize and listen to your voice so that when you speak, I can confidently obey for Your good pleasure. Amen.