Some people enjoy going to the gym. I never have. In high school and college, I only went to the weight room because it was required for wrestling. However, the Apostle Paul used athletic lingo when he said, “work out your salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who works in you to will and to act according to His good purpose” (Philippians 2:12-13). This passage teaches two very important truths.
ONE. The emphasis is not on us, but on the One who is in us. When you invited Christ to come into your life, His Holy Spirit took up residence in you. He began at that moment to change you from the inside out. Over time, we can fall into the trap of thinking it’s up to us to discipline ourselves to become more like Christ. It’s true that it involves our efforts, but we must never forget that it is, “God who works in you.” We are entirely dependent on Him to change us.
A seed has all its potential hidden in the DNA inside of it. In the same way, God has already placed within us everything we need in order to blossom where we are. As we send out our roots into Christ, we’ll bloom into the people God wants us to become. The Bible affirms this in Colossians 2:6-7, “And now, just as you accepted Christ Jesus as your Lord, you must continue to follow Him. Let your roots grow down into Him, and let your lives be built on Him. Then your faith will grow strong in the truth you were taught, and you will overflow with thankfulness.”
Your blossoming and mine is not only reserved for church meetings. It is to take place in the day-to-day events of life. “Working out” is not limited to the gym. Wherever we hone our skills, be it at the track or in the drawing room, whether at the shooting range or in the computer lab, at the office or in the home, we “work out” to get better. In all those places God is asking you and me to cooperate with Him to develop the gifts He has placed within us.
TWO. The text does not say, “work FOR your salvation.” We do not have to strain and sacrifice in order to obtain our salvation. Heaven is not a gold medal given only to a select few who excel in some endeavor. Having the Lord in our life here-and-now is a GIFT to be received. Ephesians 2:8–9 makes that point clear. It says, “God saved you by his grace when you believed. And you can’t take credit for this; it is a gift from God. Salvation is not a reward for the good things we have done, so none of us can boast about it.”
I hope you have received Christ and that today you are sinking your roots deeper into Him.