Philippians 2:12-13 has a seeming contradiction. Verse 12 tells us to work out our own salvation, but verse 13 says that God is at work. Ephesians 2:8-9 tells us that our salvation is not of our own works so we won’t brag. James 2:14-26 tells us that works need to follow our faith in God. I think this passage combines those two concepts. There are works that I need to do to honor God.
I fear that we sometimes get too stuck on one side of that equation or the other. Either we look too much to ourselves to work or we assume too little responsibility. I like to think that God does the heavy lifting. He is responsible to provide what is needed for me to work out my salvation. He provided the way for my salvation. I need to obey what God tells me to do. I find that out from spending time in the Bible and time talking to God.
Dear Heavenly Father, please help me to see the difference between the work You have given me to do and what You promise to take care of. I want to live a life of appropriate responsibility, resting in what You will do.
When I was in high school, society pushed teens to ask, “Who am I?”. It was a big thing for us to “find ourselves”. I fear we are seeing the effects of too many years of wanting our own identity. Ephesians 2:10 tells us that those who trust in Jesus Christ are His workmanship. Our purpose is good works. Good works “which God prepared beforehand”. Reading and studying the Bible as well as praying will help us understand those good works.
Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for making us Your workmanship. Please help us to seek what You desire for good works.
Those of us who have placed our trust in Jesus Christ have the best identity. I fear we keep clinging to the identity we want to have instead of seeing what identity Christ offers. Ephesians 2:8-9 tells us that we have been saved by grace not by anything we have done. The reason is so we will not boast about works.
I think one of the hardest things we have to do is to let go of our personal identity. In the U.S. we are so individualistic that we encourage living our own way. Our wishes and desires get in the way of what God tells us. I am humbled by the reminder that I can’t do anything to earn my salvation. Hopefully this pushes me to seek Christlike identity by reading, studying and obeying God’s Word.
Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for the humbling reminder in Your Word that we cannot earn salvation. Please help me to live this for Your honor and glory. I want to serve You more.
The book of Romans begins with the apostle Paul sharing who he is in Jesus Christ. Identity is a big deal in society today. There is a lot of confusion and hurt surrounding this topic. Some of that confusion has made its way into the church. We want to find our identity in our looks, our jobs, or our personalities rather than our identity in Jesus Christ.
Identity in Christ means giving up my own identity. It requires obedience. It points only to God and ignores me (John 3:30). I think in an individualistic society we want too much of ourselves. I wonder if we find individualism more exciting than obeying Christ.
Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for the example of Paul. Please help us to obey for the sake of Your name.