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. – Philippians 2:12-13
Since I started skiing in 2006 my only desire was to be on the mountain with my friends and have fun. I had an easy transition from ice skating and hockey to skiing so it was nothing incredibly challenging for me. I also didn’t challenge myself either to learn tricks or go out of bounds on advanced terrain. However, this year I tried something new and became a ski instructor. I realized very quickly that I had never considered what my body or feet were doing while I skied and that I had no ski vocabulary. Turns out instructing requires a lot of patience, grace, and establishing a safe place for mistakes to be made because perfection actually wasn’t the goal. I loved discovering and teaching the beauty of learning and growing in all humility for the fun of refining ones’ skill. Now imagine if this life lesson had spiritual implications and how I may have felt when I discovered I wasn’t extending the same grace to myself in my spiritual growth. Because of growing up in a strict religious background, I personally have struggled with being in control of my spiritual transformation. I consider myself to have been a Christian all of my life, even though I actually didn’t learn about God’s grace wanting to transform me until I was in my late 20s. I thought the transformation of my life was all on my shoulders. I want to share my favorite verse with you on why this isn’t true, and a perspective to keep us aware that transformation, refinement, and learning is a lifelong process (Phil. 2:12-13).
Society enjoys telling us that we are in control of our own destiny and that it is up to us to make this life what we want it to be. This type of thinking is contrary to what Scripture teaches us and it is the type of thinking that will actually work against what God may be trying to do in your life. When I try to take control of God’s plan for my life, He reminds me of Isaiah 45:9 “”Woe to him who strives with him who formed him, a pot among earthen pots! Does the clay say to him who forms it, ‘What are you making?’ or ‘Your work has no handles’?” I think we all know we are the clay and He is the potter. We can truly trust God is working for us, in us, and for His glory. This means that as we grow as Christians we are not left on our own to do the growing, neither is it all of Gods responsibility. It takes all of God and all of me in this process of sanctification. My life gets exponentially easier if my mindset is believing God is leading me to accomplish His will and at the same time empowering me through the Holy Spirit. Unlike our worldly leaders, our King came with grace and mercy. He knows our weakness and wants to be the strength. My deepest and greatest desire is to be a light in the darkness, a true son of God. In order to do this I have to submit to His process and His plan even if it is unknown and I can do that because He provides me with amazing assurance that He will lead me and partner with me in the process, “for it is God who works in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure.” (Phil. 2:13).
Therefore, as we step into working out our salvation let us consider it as the awareness that God is always refining our likeness of Him in us. A light made to get brighter. In this way we can trust that ALL circumstances are a cause for joy because they are for our good and His glory. So don’t shy away from the trial or be disheartened in hard times and open your heart to His help. Never forget He loved us before we even knew Him, so there is room for mistakes and failures, just keep on the way in growing more and more into His likeness.
Do you recognize God developing your character by putting you in tough situations? A.K.A working out your salvation? This is also known as progressive sanctification.
Would you accept a challenge knowing He is with you and He’s only expecting you to learn and grow but to not be perfect?
Are we arguing with the Potter and bringing the world into His heavenly mold? (Is. 45:9-12)
By Michael Bailey | Spokane WA