Monday, May 19, 2014

Thoughts on Working Out

"Continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling..." Philippians 2:12b

Working out...it's something I used to do much more than I do now, but over the last few weeks I've been thinking about it more. Our pastor is preaching through Philippians and we've been focusing on verse 12 and God has me revisiting my basketball days.

When I was obsessed with the game, I was devoted to working out. I practiced, I ran, I lifted weights. I wasn't a natural and didn't have a lot of talent, but I was driven to succeed and thus was dedicated to do the little things. 

Lately I've been challenged that I'm not striving as hard as a disciple of Christ's and being convicted that following Jesus is so much more important than chasing a dream of a state championship. I'm thankful for God's grace, patience and mercy; but I've also been thinking about some of His other attributes.

Friends, our God is Holy, He is a God of Wrath and He is our Judge. What does that mean to you? Lately I've realized that all too often it doesn't mean enough to me. Seeing God for who He is should drive me to be who He made me to be, but does it? Not always. 

All too often my flesh wins and I act selfishly instead of being humble. Doubt and fear can take over in place of confidence and security in Christ. At times I rely on self instead of trusting God. All of this leads me back to the verse in Philippians...notice the last phrase - "with fear and trembling."

Do you fear God? It can be easy to answer that question with a "yes", but let me ask, "What does that look like in your daily life?" Do you find yourself trembling before Him? Friend we are to work out our salvation with fear and trembling.

This again takes me back to my basketball days and part of the reason I was driven to work hard was because I respected my coach. Much of what I did was optional, but because our coach suggested it I did it. I respected him and feared the consequences that would come with not doing what he asked. Oh for the desire to do the same with my heavenly Father!

Friend, when God asks us to do something He always has a reason and He will always make a way...it doesn't matter if it's something big or small, He wants and expects us to obey. In God's Word, Paul instructs us to work out our salvation and today I challenge you to pray about what that means for you personally. 

As an athlete there were always things I could do to improve and friend as a Christian the same is true for you and me. Will this take time? Yes. Will it require work and discipline? Yes. Will it lead to change and improvement? Yes. Will it create new opportunities? Possibly. Will it be worth it? Yes!!

May these words encourage us today -  "Therefore, my dear brothers and sisters, stand firm. Let nothing move you. Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain." (1 Corinthians 15:58)

I don't know if you needed this little pep talk today, but I'm praying I hang on to what this verse is really saying and am asking God to give me the desire to make it a reality in my life. I'd love to hear what this verse means to you, how you work out your salvation or if you're challenged in a new way as you understand this verse more, so please share. Also if you need prayer as you work out your salvation, leave a request in the comments and I will pray for you as I pray for me!

Thank you for joining me today! It's a blessing to join you as we run the race of life and it's always more fun to work out with a friend!!

4 comments:

  1. Jill, you have been on my mind so much. As life moves at the speed of light I struggle with time on the computer lately. But I want to thank you so much for the wisdom, truth and encouragement you provide so many of us with here, through Encouragement Cafe and many other places. You are a voice that I so often learn from and I am sorry I rarely take a moment to tell you so. I so NEEDED this message this morning. As I rush about my day with an impossibly long list of actions, with excitement and opportunities....this devotion made me pause. I am very good at giving God the glory when I think of the compassion and grace He offers. But I don't often think of Him with the fear and respect that the King of Kings deserves in my life, my world and certainly my day. This morning I am slowing down. I am working out my salvation by turning my thoughts and activities over to Him first...and asking, "What is YOUR will for me today, Lord? How can I please you?"

    Blessings to you and your sweet family! Michelle

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    1. Michelle, you have no idea how your words spoke to me today! They truly are an answer to prayer...thank you for taking the time to share and encourage me! I will pray for you as you long to work out your salvation in the crazy, busy lives we lead!! Blessings back!

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  2. This is my first visit to your blog. (Well, I visited earlier in the week, but I didn't have time to read the entire article or leave a comment). I'm not sure how I found you...one link led to another, and here I am. However, I got here, though, I am so glad I did. This article is just what I needed. I have grown lax in my relationship with the Lord these last few years. I have lost my joy, and I don't have the passion for God that I used to have. But I don't want to be like that. I miss the days of having a vibrant relationship with him. Just as it takes effort to keep my body in shape, your words reminded me that I must make the effort to keep my soul in shape too. It's not going to just happen (just as losing 10 pounds won't automatically happen). I need to make the effort to get deeply back into the Word.

    I am going to browse around your site, especially focusing on the 31 Days of Seeing God series.

    Thank you for being a blessing,
    Patti

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    1. Patti,
      Thank you for stopping by and taking the time to comment! It truly blesses me and was encouragement that I needed. And your mention of the 31 day series led me back to some words God knew I needed to read...I love the way He works!! I pray you can see Him working mightily in your life today!!
      Blessings!

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