In Philippians 2:12 the Bible tells us to work out our salvation with fear and trembling.What does it mean to "work out your salvation"? Some denominations will tell you it means you get to Heaven by your works. You work really hard and (as if you could) you earn your salvation. Think about it. Could we really earn righteousness? Was the life, death and Resurrection of Jesus all in vain? Absolutely not! While I am certainly not a Bible Scholar with a Biblical degree, I do have the Holy Spirit living in me. Recently, I was sharing with someone about how we are to present ourselves as a living sacrifice to Christ and we do that by renewing our minds and walking in Him. (Romans 12:1-2) Christ has done all the work for us to be righteous and we have to receive it. However, there is something else we must do: BELIEVE in the finished work of Christ in our lives.
Let me give you an example. I have shared with you before that I have struggled with anxiety alot in my life; when I was young and some even now. When I first got saved I felt overwhelming peace most of the time. I didn't feel anxious at all. When people asked me how I could be so calm, I would tell them what Jesus did for me. Some years later however, I went through a season of feeling anxious alot. I would pray that the anxious feelings would go away. I would also rebuke the spirit of anxiety in the Name of Jesus. However, often the feelings didn't go away and I just assumed I had no choice but to react. I would get upset and begin to fret and worry. Sometimes I would let the worries get me really down. I didn't understand until recently that I had a choice and I was choosing anxiety!
Now before you choke me, let me explain what I mean. I was not choosing to "feel" anxious because I had no control of what feelings came my way. On the other hand, I did have control over how I responded to the feeling. I had two choices: Believe my feelings and spiral out of control in anxiety and fear OR believe what God says about me and respond to His Word. God says that He will keep me in perfect peace if I keep my mind on Him. God says He didn't give me a Spirit of fear but of power, love and sound mind. (Isaiah 26:3, 2 Timothy 1:7) So, I have a choice. Even though my stomach feels nervous and my mind is racing, I can choose to believe that walking in anxiety is opposite than walking in faith and whatever is not from faith is sin. (Romans 14:22-23) I then proceed to act like a person who believes God is faithful. I stop trying to fix the problem. I stop ranting and raving over my worries. I stop eating out of stress. I simply say, "God, I trust in you and I choose to walk in peace." I still feel nervous at times and do occasionally choose to believe my feelings over God's Word. However, more and more my faith is getting stronger and when I catch myself spiraling down, I stop and repent. (1 John 1:9)
I want to encourage you today to "work out your salvation". We have a choice how we respond to things that come our way. If God says you can do everything through Him, then you can! If God says that if you trust Him and focus on His Kingdom and all your needs will be met, then trust Him! When you believe God's Word over your emotions, you are truly working and living out the finished work of Christ. The great news is God has already won the victory for us! Our job is to not only believe His Word, but to live and respond like we believe it!