Growth: His Part – Our PartSo then, my beloved, …work out your salvation with fear and trembling; for it is God who is at work in you, both to will and to work for His good pleasure.
Whenever I read the verse above I rejoice. It is such good news! What a relief to know that I am not required to somehow self-produce a life that looks like Jesus. I’m relieved because deep down I know I cannot represent Him well before a watching world by pulling myself up by my own moral boot straps.
I’m also excited because I know He never fails. He is good at what He sets His mind to do! I am merely instructed to cooperate with Almighty God’s wonderful Spirit as He transforms my thinking, attitudes, behaviors and priorities into those of Jesus. Transformation is His job. Yielding to His work is mine.
But this verse also captures the truth that my part, the “work” of yielding to God and cooperating with what He is doing in my life is not passive. He calls us to intentional and willful obedience. This involves actively seeking, learning, growing and trusting. And all of these acts of submission to the Lord can feel very much like work at times. But in the end there is the wonderful awareness that the “good” that comes from us into the lives of others is His work.
Paul concludes his thoughts about God’s work in us with these words of exhortation:
Do this without grumbling or disputing; so that you will prove yourselves to be blameless and innocent, children of God above reproach in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation, among whom you appear as lights in the world, holding fast the word of life.
This catalog of growth opportunities is full of resources God can use to further His work in your life. Happy cooperating!