Philippians 2:12–15 (ESV)
12 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, 13 for it is God who works in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure. 14 Do all things without grumbling or disputing, 15 that you may be blameless and innocent, children of God without blemish in the midst of a crooked and twisted generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world,
During this unsettling time, Pastor Chris challenged us with the Apostle Paul’s words, “…work out your own salvation…without grumbling… [to] shine as lights in the world.” Chris unpacked these verses in Philippians 2 to help us understand that the world will be attracted to us when we don’t tremble in fear as others do. In fact, we walk in confidence in our Lord’s protection and we seek ways to serve others.
- Actively Pursue Obedience (v. 12)
Like the church today, Paul knew that believers in Philippi needed to have their identity rooted in God’s love. When we understand that we are loved, then we obey. Our obedience is not out of drudgery and obligation. Instead, His care, protection, and grace spur us on to obey! Actively pursuing obedience is what “working out your own salvation” means. Our light shines bright through our conduct.
Actions we can take to pursue obedience
- Read God’s Word daily
- Remember that God declares, “fear not” or, “do not fear” 365 times in the Bible – that’s one for each day of the year
- Divine Enablement (v. 13)
Paul is speaking of regeneration in Christ. We are regenerated by the power of Jesus in us:
Jesus gives us a new nature and identity
- New Desires – refreshed, renewed
- New Power – the Spirit working in us
- New Presence – in the storm we have peace
The word “works” means “to energize.” That’s how God’s power is manifest in us when we obey.
Be encouraged by this account of Jeremy Lanphier, a young pastor whose obedience, in the midst of a national crisis, led to revival. Read more here about the “Prayer Revival of 1857.”
- “The Snuffer” – Complaining & Arguing (v. 14)
“Do all things…” Paul exhorts, “…without grumbling or complaining.” Chris reminded us that “all” means “All.” Don’t be a “snuffer” expressing discontent with this life. Pessimism dulls and obscures the bright light of Jesus in us – a light the
- What ways have you witnessed people reacting with fear in the current crisis?
- What suggestions do you have to help others replace fearful thoughts? How have you taken steps to not be overwhelmed with fear?
- In what practical ways can the church be a bright light to the world at this tough time?
- What do you suppose leads us to grumble and complain about circumstances in life? What ways can we do the opposite?
- What areas of life have you been most fearful during this crisis – finances, family, health?
Ask God to show you His love through reading the Word and Worship.
- How might you make an effort to shine bright in this difficult time?