Therefore is a transition word that means the writer has reached a conclusion and has a truth for us. Philippians 2:12-13 is one such passage. Paul had just finished describing Jesus, his role as Savior and Lord of Lords in verses 5-11 and reached a conclusion about Jesus’ effect on all our lives. “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, 13 for it is God who works in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure.” Paul reminds the Philippian believers of their faithful obedience to Jesus, even when he was not there supervising them, and admonishes them to ‘work out their salvation with fear and trembling’.
Paul’s charge to ‘work out their salvation with fear and trembling’ would apply to us too. This phrase implies that we need to continue in faith regardless of the obstacles we face daily. We need to commit to growing in our faith, and strive to know more about God each day. We need to take that growth and then apply it to our faith with diligence and persistence. All this should be done without doubt or fear but because of our faith and reverence towards God. Scholars agree it does not mean any kind of ‘earning’ or working hard to create our salvation but rather living our faith in Jesus out in our daily lives. Paul refers to believers as new creations in Christ in 2 Corinthians 5:17 “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.” That new creation, a life filled with faith in Jesus, demands a new walk with Christ that causes us to live by His Word and be indwelt and transformed by His Holy Spirit. We did nothing to earn this transformation as it is God’s gift to us through faith but it needs to be cared for and nurtured as we grow in Him.
As Paul continues, I love what he says in verse 13. “ for it is God who works in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure.” Paul knows that God is the one working within us to mold and shape us. God is doing the work. Psalm 37:5 “Commit your way to the Lord; trust in him, and he will act.” God needs our commitment to Him, then He is the one doing the work within us. We trust and commit then God does the follow through! Paul also knew that what God intends or wills happens. Job 42:2 ““I know that you can do all things, and that no purpose of yours can be thwarted.” Finally, Paul adds that the things God does in our lives are for His good pleasure. This will always be good for us as promised in Jeremiah 29:11 “ For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.” God’s plans are always for His glory and our good!
Increased joy for me, how about you?
- I am filled with joy that my growth in character pleases God and equals joy in my life.
- I am filled with joy that God is at work within me with purpose and goodness.
- I am filled with joy knowing that God keeps His promises!
Have a blessed and joy filled day!
For such a time as this, my new book Strategic Living is perfect. We all wonder, while we’re at home sheltering in place because of the Covid-19, what we can do to reach others and survive ourselves. In my new book, Strategic Living I take a biblical look at godly character and seek to challenge the reader to reflect and take action. Becoming more and more like Jesus is a process called sanctification and takes deliberate effort and intentionality. This new devotional gives concrete examples and direction on how God can and does shape our lives and explores perhaps new and different ways God desires that we act. The book can be used for individual devotions or for group study. Questions for group discussion are included along with key memory verses.
Take up the challenge and get your copy today. It is available in paperback or eBook formats.
My book is available at Certa Publishing http://www.certabooks.com/strategicliving
And on Amazon https://www.amazon.com/dp/1946466719?ref=myi_title_dphttps://www.amazon.com/dp/1946466719?ref=myi_title_dp
thank you, Linda
After reading my book, I would appreciate you taking the time to review the book. As reviews help to spread the word.
Do you suit up properly for life’s battles? Here are the first pieces of armor in Paul’s list- the belt and breastplate. Ephesians 6:14 “Stand therefore, having fastened on the belt of truth, and having put on the breastplate of righteousness”, The first things we are to put on involve our godly character- the belt of truth and the breastplate of righteousness. The root of the believer’s strength is the character he/she has in Christ. Godly character is based on the truth of God, who He is, and how you are bound to Him through faith in Christ. Jesus is truth and knowing Him brings truth into your life. John 14:6 “Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” His Holy Spirit brings believers truth “When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all the truth, for he will not speak on his own authority, but whatever he hears he will speak, and he will declare to you the things that are to come.” John 16:13 and His Word is truth “Sanctify them in the truth; your word is truth.” John 17:17. The truth of godly character is base on Christ, the Holy Spirit and His Word and are the essential building blocks for godly character in our lives.
Another element of godly character that we are to put on that provides for our defense is His righteousness as our breastplate. The breastplate covers the heart and protects our vital organs. Since we cannot be righteous on our own because of our sin nature, we have to depend upon Christ and His righteousness. Romans 3:21-24 “ But now God has shown us a way to be made right with him without keeping the requirements of the law, as was promised in the writings of Moses and the prophets long ago. 22 We are made right with God by placing our faith in Jesus Christ. And this is true for everyone who believes, no matter who we are. 23 For everyone has sinned; we all fall short of God’s glorious standard. 24 Yet God, in his grace, freely makes us right in his sight. He did this through Christ Jesus when he freed us from the penalty for our sins.” Jesus made the way for us to be righteous before God and give us (imputes) His righteousness to us. We are renewed through this righteousness from Christ as Paul reminded us in Ephesians 4:20-24 in The Message translation, “But that’s no life for you. You learned Christ! My assumption is that you have paid careful attention to him, been well instructed in the truth precisely as we have it in Jesus. Since, then, we do not have the excuse of ignorance, everything—and I do mean everything—connected with that old way of life has to go. It’s rotten through and through. Get rid of it! And then take on an entirely new way of life—a God-fashioned life, a life renewed from the inside and working itself into your conduct as God accurately reproduces his character in you.” Righteousness is a key to a life filled with godly character and can only be obtained through Christ. Jesus is the way, the truth and the life, only through Him can we have His character.
Because Christ died on the cross and rose from the dead, I can have godly character that is based on His truth and righteousness. These first pieces of armor are crucial to living a life for Christ. Put them on then stand firmly rooted and grounded in Christ.
Because Christ died on the cross and rose from the dead, I can have godly character. What is godly character? God has many attributes and some are communicable to us through Jesus and some belong solely to God. For example, only God is incomprehensible, the creator, omnipresent, omniscient, omnipotent or sovereign. However, those characteristics of God that He wants us to possess are vast and wonderful. He desires that we are like Him in having peace, joy, being forgiving, thankful, honest, friendly, generous, loving and humble to name just a few. As we grow in our relationship with Jesus, the Holy Spirit transforms us in a process called sanctification as we are made more and more like Jesus.
Why does God want to do this for us? Scripture is clear there are great benefits to this character transformation. Romans 5:2-4 “Through him we have also obtained access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and we rejoice in hope of the glory of God. 3 Not only that, but we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, 4 and endurance produces character, and character produces hope.” Wow! Through faith in Jesus we stand in grace, rejoice in hope and our suffering produces godly character in us! James 1:2-4 also speaks of the trials of life bringing about change in our character for good. “Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds,3 for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness.4 And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.” Life’s trials test our faith and produce character that is steadfast and leads to perfection in Christ. It is the trials in our life that God uses to hone and shape our character to make us more and more like Jesus as we learn to depend upon Him and place our Hope in Him.
May you find joy in your trials and suffering as God works on your character, a character that will bring you hope!
Suggestion: Determine to take a different view of the hard things you face today. Seek to see them as character building. Praise God for the ability to cling to Him with a thankful, joyful and hopeful heart!
Because Jesus died on the cross and rose from the dead, I have been made complete in Christ. Colossians 2:10 “So you also are complete through your union with Christ, who is the head over every ruler and authority.” My understanding of this is that all God’s purposes for our lives are made complete in Christ. 2 Corinthians 1:20 “ For all the promises of God find their Yes in him. That is why it is through him that we utter our Amen to God for his glory.” Knowing that we can be who God wants us to be because of Christ’s work on the cross, we can consider ourselves complete in His power. We have assurances from God’s Word that our completeness in Christ is made possible by His Holy Spirit within us and through the leading of His Spirit we will be made more and more like Jesus.
Here are some verses to encourage you as you walk with Jesus each day and seek be to complete in Him: 2 Timothy 3:16-17 “All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, 17that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work.” God’s Word teaches, corrects and trains us so we can do His good works. Seeking completeness? Stay in God’s Word so He can equip you!
James 1:2-4 “Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds,3 for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness.4 And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing. God wants us to face trials with joy as they will hone and perfect our character to be more like Jesus. Do you feel your character is sagging or you are growing apathetic? Endeavor to see your trials and tests as opportunities to build your character and allowed by God to grow you up in Christ.
1 John 1:3-4 “that which we have seen and heard we proclaim also to you, so that you too may have fellowship with us; and indeed our fellowship is with the Father and with his Son Jesus Christ. 4 And we are writing these things so that our joy may be complete.” John wanted us, as believers, to rejoice in Christ as fellow-shipping with the Father and Son brings complete joy to us and our fellow believers! Do you consider yourself a joyful Christian? If not, seek to know Christ better and fellowship with positive spirit-filled Christians. Their joy for Christ will be contagious!
Suggestion: Choose one of God’s completeness strengtheners from scripture and praise God for the completeness you feel!
- Choose a portion of God’s Word to read each day this week. (Psalm 31, 37 or 103 are my personal favorites)
- If you have a particular trial coming up this week, endeavor to count it joy and praise God for the opportunity.
- Seek out a fellow Christian(s) and praise God together in song or prayer.