Wednesday, September 09, 2015

It Takes Effort

“Therefore, my dear friends, as you have always obeyed—not only in my presence, but now much more in my absence—continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling,”

Philippians 2:12 NIV

What does it take to live this way?

The mind of Christ.

That's what Paul is saying in the verses just before these. A Christ-like mindset is one based on humility--not pride. It's being a servant to all creation will you are their Creator King. The contrast is jaw-dropping.

Paul continues the contrast here when he talks about "shining like stars in the sky" (15). Just like pinpoints of light or luminary bodies in the night sky grab our attention, whether we like it or not, our lives--when lived with the mind of Christ--will grab the attention of others. It will be obvious and unmistakable.

What jumps out to me today is that this doesn't just happen. It takes effort. Intentional effort on our part.

"Continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling," makes it clear this isn't effortless. Now we aren't earning anything here (we can't). We are, however, putting forth great personal effort. We are working--not casually playing--really working out our salvation. 

In a gym workout, you are pumping iron, jumping, running, rowing or doing some kind of strenuous exercise to get stronger. To succeed you need a plan, a place and a person to hold you accountable. It doesn't just happen.

The same is true of our spiritual walk. It takes a lot of effort. Some physical but mostly intellectual, emotional, and willful. 

Are you standing out like stars in the night sky to those around you or are you blending in? 

It's scary letting God's light shine out through you. It gets you more attention that you may want. It also brings glory to your Creator and Savior.

The only alternative is to hide your light under a basket. (Matt 5:14-16) We're called to much more than that.

What is God saying to you today?
What are you going to do about it?