Therefore, my beloved, just as you have always obeyed me, not only in my presence, but much more now in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling; for it is God who is at work in you, enabling you both to will and to work for his good pleasure.” vss. 12-13Philippians 2:5-13
Paul is not telling the Philippians to forget about the grace of God with these profound and insightful words. Not at all! All of us have salvation as a gift through the sacrificial love of Jesus the Christ. But that salvation will have a particular shape in every person, and we’ll all experience it in different ways. Paul says it must be worked out with fear and trembling, a phase that has been the subject of profound debate among theologians. Essentially he’s speaking about faith, the ever elusive connection between ourselves and God. It’s ever-changing, and just when we think we have it figured out, new questions arise, and we’re forced to reconsider once again just what it is that we believe in. Occasionally we’ll even wander into the areas of skepticism and unbelief – it’s just so hard to figure out satisfactory answers when it comes to God and the Universe. No wonder it’s a process wrought with fear and trembling! Paul gives one word of comfort. Always as we struggle we should remember that the Divine Presence is involved, and through the work of the Spirit, our faith journey will have a satisfactory conclusion.
Thought for the Day: What have my faith struggles been like?