Therefore, my dear friends, as you have always obeyed—not only in my presence, but now much more in my absence—continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who works in you to will and to act in order to fulfill his good purpose.
So much of life is about growing. When we are young, we rely on our parents for everything – food, comfort, toys, to keep us from eating rocks. As we get older, our parents slowly back away. We learn how to dress ourselves, use a fork, make a sandwich, think about the consequences of our actions, and even (gasp!) how to drive a car. We know that our parents will always be there if we need them, but at the same time we learn how to make decisions without them.
Paul built the church in Philippi. You could even say the church was his baby. He cherished it, watched it grow, and considered the people in it to be his family. But he knew that he couldn’t always be there for them physically, and at some point they would need to take ownership of their walk with Jesus.
Paul is not saying our salvation is in our hands or that if we keep doing good things we will be saved. Paul is encouraging the Philippians to continue what they have been doing – developing a deeper love for Jesus and putting that love into practice by how they care for each other and their community. He is letting them know that he cannot always be there for them, but that is okay – they have God, and that is all they need. He is encouraging them to rely on God when they make decisions, to keep growing spiritually, and to see each day as an opportunity to take their faith in Jesus even further.
Jesus, I don’t want to waste any day. Help me to fall more and more in love with you, to know you more, and to always rely on you.
Ephesians 2:8-10; 2 Peter 3:18, Luke 17:5, Colossians 1:9-10