Work out your salvation with fear and trembling. Philippians 2:12
Have you ever worked on anything with fear and trembling? What does it mean?
First, we must take this verse in context. It isn’t talking about working for our salvation, but what happens after salvation. We do not work for our salvation at all, that is a gift from God. This is the work after salvation, the work of sanctification, of becoming like Christ. This works out from the point of my salvation. Even then it is something I rely on God to do in me. Anyway… fear and trembling.
When I was in High school I was part of a really good award winning band. We practiced every day from 2:30 (last period in school) until about 5:00. We worked hard in those hours, and that doesn’t include time spent practicing on our own. Yes, we were scared of our band director, but nobody forced us to enroll or stay in band; we were proud to be part of something so good. Our goal for each football game and each competition was simple – perfection. If you messed up your part you felt absolutely horrible, because you had made the whole band and the director look bad. We worked with fear and trembling.
In more recent history I approached my black belt tests with this same attitude. I trained many, many hours in preparation for the test; the pressure was immense. It was very important to me to do well for a number of reasons. I wanted to reflect well on my teacher, and I wanted to prove to myself that I could do it. I definitely trained with fear and trembling for both of those tests.
What if I approached my sanctification with that kind of dedication and drive? What if pleasing God with my life was so important to me that I was willing to sacrifice that same kind of time and effort and work to it? What would that look like?
May you work out your sanctification with fear and trembling.
Rebecca A Givens, 11/24/09