I sometimes think of what Dr. Bryson, one of my professors at Mississippi College, used to say about Paul. He said, sort of jokingly, that we as preachers would rather preach on Paul than Jesus. He said Paul was hard understand, so we could preach for hours about Him.
He said Jesus wasn’t hard to understand. He was just hard to follow. It’s not hard to understand loving your enemy. It’s really, really hard to do.
Today in Philippians 2:12-13, we have one of those Paul passages that can be hard to understand at first.
Listen to what it says:
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, both to will and to work for his good pleasure.
But then, notice what he says right after, it’s God that works through you. For His will and good pleasure.
So, well then. Which is it? Do we work it out, or is it God that is at work?
We do our part. We are faithful. We put ourselves in a position to hear God speak and move in us.
One of my mentors used to always say – pray, read your bible, and go to church. That won’t make everything easy or perfect, but it will put you in a position to hear God.
So, we do our part. We put ourselves in a position to hear God and know God.
And God moves. God speaks. God changes us. God saves us. God works on us.
So, we’ve done our part. And God does His. We don’t earn it. It’s not about anything we can do. It’s about all that He has done and is doing.
And, the very fact that we have the desire to know Him, to follow Him, to love Him, to put ourselves in that position?
That desire comes from Him. He is at work. Even in the acts of faithfulness. He is at work, calling us to be faithful.
So, today, let’s do our part. And let’s know that in that, God is at work. And He will be working on us for His good pleasure.
Let’s be faithful. And let’s see what God will do in our lives!
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