Throughout life there are certain issues that require a thorough work rather than a quick fix. For example, many children would prefer being given the answer to a math problem over the option of persevering through long division. However, there are occasions when the process of long division (appropriately named) is necessary in obtaining a correct answer. Who wouldn’t enjoy experiencing good physical health without exerting any effort? But, good physical health doesn’t just happen automatically—it has to be acquired through persistent personal discipline of diet and exercise.
In a very similar way, salvation requires a consistent and thorough workout. The apostle Paul tells us in Philippians 2:12b-13: . . .continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who works in you to will and to act according to his good purpose.
The initial gift of salvation is just that—a gift. But, the gift was provided to be used and perfected. Spiritual maturity doesn’t just happen automatically—it must be diligently pursued through daily practice of biblical principles and growing reliance on Christ.
Paul tells us to do this with “fear and trembling”. He uses these words to remind us of the caution and care to be given to the task at hand. God is very serious about the integrity of those who claim to follow Him. Genuine respect and reverence for Christ’s work on the cross should motivate a disciple to sincerely persevere in their spiritual growth.
Paul also reminds us that it is God’s work within us that develops spiritual maturity. While it is true that all spiritual development occurs by the supernatural work of the Holy Spirit, God’s Spirit will not perform a complete work in us without our permission.
Are you in need of a good, thorough workout? God desires to mold and shape each of us into followers that reflect His character and Word. We are not promised that each workout will be easy, but we are promised that God will be thorough in perfecting His will in us (Philippians 1:6).
Are you ready to invite the Holy Spirit to perform a thorough work in your heart and life?