(By the way, that was the best bicep I could find to give you a little illustration of “power”! I cracked myself up when I loaded that “man arm” on my “women’s Bible study” site!”)
Today, I’ve provided our text below in the New Living Translation as well as the Amplified. Please read both translations. They give us an expanded view of our verses for today’s study.
“Dear friends, you always followed my instructions when I was with you. And now that I am away, it is even more important. Work hard to show the results of your salvation, obeying God with deep reverence and fear. For God is working in you, giving you the desire and the power to do what pleases him.” Phil 2:12-13 NLT
“Therefore, my dear ones, as you have always obeyed [my suggestions], so now, not only [with the enthusiasm you would show] in my presence but much more because I am absent, work out (cultivate, carry out to the goal, and fully complete) your own salvation with reverence and awe and trembling (self-distrust, with serious caution, tenderness of conscience, watchfulness against temptation, timidly shrinking from whatever might offend God and discredit the name of Christ). [Not in your own strength] for it is God Who is all the while effectually at work in you [energizing and creating in you the power and desire], both to will and to work for His good pleasure and satisfaction and delight.” Phil 2:12-13 AMP
When I was a little girl, my momma used to say, “You better behave yourself when I’m gone just as much as you do when I’m here.” Momma must have been reading Philippians because she sure sounded a lot like Paul! I wonder if he was pointing his finger too?
It’s been said that we are who we are most when no one else is looking. How true that is! Who we are at home shouldn’t be different than who we are at church. We should be living out what Christ has done in us no matter where we are.
When we come across the phrase in today’s text, “work out (cultivate, carry out to the goal, and fully complete) your own salvation with reverence and awe and trembling” it’s important that we understand that we are not working to obtain salvation, we’re working because we have it.
The humble obedience Jesus demonstrated is the humble obedience Paul expected the Philippian church to demonstrate. Mueller said of this passage, “The believer must finish, must carry to conclusion, must apply to its fullest consequences what is already given by God in principle . . . He must work out what God in His grace has worked in.”
2. What are some things you can do today to work out what Christ has done in you?
Now let’s turn our attention to verse 13. Our ability to live this life in obedience to Christ is only possible because He lives in us. Verse 12 tells us what we’re to do, verse 13 tells us how. I’m so thankful I don’t have to rely on my own puny power to fulfill God’s call on my life! I don’t live from the outside in, but from the inside out. And if you’re His child, neither do you!
Sweet friends, I’m so glad it is Christ working in me to energize to do His will. He not only gives me the desire – He gives me the power! And this wimpy chick says, “AMEN!”
If you’ve ever watched the movie, The Princess Diaries, you know that Mia was born a princess, but she didn’t find out until her grandmother arrived on the scene and told her it was time to step up and be who she was created to be. She had been a princess the whole time, yet she didn’t even know it.
I think many of us fail to realize we’re daughters of the King.
We are born-again into a royal family. We are given all things that pertain to life and godliness (2 Peter 2:3). The God of this Universe becomes more than our Creator, He becomes our Father. That means you and I, sweet sisters, are His little princesses!
In the movie, Mia had to learn how to live out who she really was and so do we. But we have something Princess Mia didn’t have – we’ve got the the power!
3. According to Galatians 2:20, who is at work in us?
So the question is, if it is Christ working in us and giving us the power to live out what He is doing inside, then why do we often fall so short? Why do we struggle with living this Christian life?
Perhaps it’s because we’re a bit like Mia and don’t realize who we are and what it really means to be a princess to the King of kings. Maybe it’s because we don’t abide in Him. John 15 gives us a beautiful picture of Christ as the Vine and His children as the branches. We must abide in Him to accomplish anything – for without Him, we can do nothing! I wrote about John 15 a few weeks ago and you may want to check that out to further your study – it was entitled, Much Fruit.
4. Based on John 15:1-3, what can a branch do on its own?
Sweet sisters, so often we try to do this thing on our own and we are wearing ourselves smack out and getting nowhere in the process! God has called us to live this life for Him – to be bold warriors – to be His little princesses – to have all we need to live holy lives and to reach this generation for Christ. But so often we either don’t realize who we really are in Christ or we just try to live a fruitful life without abiding in Christ.
Oh – we’ve got the power, all right! But like a plant that needs nourishment in order to produce fruit, we too need to abide in the Branch if we’re going to produce fruit for His glory.
Today, I pray your realize you are His. He has given you all things that pertain to life and to godliness. He is at work in you to fulfill that which He wants to do through you! So, abide in Him, sweet thing – abide in Him. Make Him the object of your affections. Everything flows from your unhindered fellowship with the Savior of the world – the King of kings – the Prince of Peace – your Refuge – your Redeemer – your God and your Friend!
It’s not too late to join us in our study of Philippians! You can receive your Bible study in your inbox by clicking this link. Or you can click on the Google or Networkedblog link to receive it in your feeder.
© Stephanie Shott, 2011