Are you an energizer bunny for Jesus? Do you have God’s energy inside you helping you live the kind of life He wants you to live?
There’s no question that God wants us to do good deeds, share with those in need, give money and resources to help spread the gospel. But why should we? I mean if we have accepted Christ we’re going to live forever in paradise, so why should we expend any energy doing any of this?
Along these lines, there is a phrase in Philippians 2:12 that has always puzzled me. What does “work out your own salvation with fear and trembling” really mean? I grew up reading the King James version and to me the wording makes it sound like that in order to be saved, I need to be working at it. And not just working a little bit, but working to the extent of being mortally afraid if I’m not expending all my energy at it.
Other scriptures, though, say opposite. They say it doesn’t matter how much we do, we will never be able to do enough to earn salvation. “For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith–and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God–not by works, so that no one can boast.” (Ephesians 2:8-9, NIV)
It’s always concerned me when I see large numbers of hmany people who want to buy the ticket to heaven and go along for the ride without doing anything else. I believe Phil. 2:12, however, puts in perspective by saying it’s a working journey with fuel being God Himself.
When we take Philippians 2:12 and 13 together we start to piece together the the real meaning. “…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.”
A friend of mine summed it up like this: “God in. Bad out.” When God is in us, we will want to avoid bad habits and form good ones. We will have the power, the energy through His Holy Spirit living in us to live like He tells us to live.
If God’s spirit dwells within us, we cannot help but try and do what he wants us to do. I’m thinking where we get hung up is the reason for salvation in the first place. It’s not to avoid hell, although that is part of it. It’s to live forever in the presence of God.
At age 7 I realized I was a sinner (because I stole some candy). I walked the aisle of my church and accepted Jesus as my savior. I have always called that my salvation experience. In actuality, I think the real experience came when I was 19 and a friend died of a brain tumor.
I wanted to know for sure that I would go to heaven. But my dad brought it down to an even more important concept. Essentially it was this: Would you believe in Jesus Christ and follow Him if you had no real evidence that heaven exists?
Really isn’t that what faith is? Being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see? (Hebrews 11:1 NIV)
The operative word here is faith. Those with genuine faith in Jesus are continually asking Him, “What can You and I do together?” He doesn’t ask us to sit around waiting for the day we die. He asks us to work with Him. Love Him by loving people.
If there is any question about what that looks like, just read the gospels. Jesus’ life gives us clear examples. And if you say, “Well, He was God.” Then, look at Paul. And if you say, “Well, he was an apostle.” Then, look at Timothy. And if you say, “Well, he was a pastor.” Then, look at Epaphroditus (Philippians 2:19-30). He was a layman who lived for others instead of himself. We don’t hear much about him but what we do hear is good.
That’s what I want. I want to be an energizer bunny for Jesus. I want to live working out my salvation with fear and trembling. That way whatever is said when I’m no longer here should be good, at least according to Jesus. His opinion is the only one that counts any way.
“Be energetic in your life of salvation, reverent and sensitive before God. That energy is God’s energy, an energy deep within you, God himself willing and working at what will give him the most pleasure.” (Philippians 2:12-13, The Message)
I’d love to know what you think, if you agree or disagree and why. I’m interested in all opinions.