“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, for it is God who works in you to will and to act in order to fulfill his good purpose” Philippians 2:12-13(NIV)
Two weeks ago I started posting ‘Word of the week’ on Instagram and Facebook, and my small sister who designed the post for me included read more on sophieadhiambo.com – and at that time I was only posting a summarized version of the word on Instagram and Facebook. And so when I thought about it, I decided to continue posting the summarized version and a more detailed post on the blogJ
The verses above really spoke to me and when I read them I surely felt God speak. Even as I write this I am thinking about how much God cares for His people – even the small things that we really feel we shouldn’t talk to Him about, He cares! Growing up whenever I had teachers of the word say ‘the Bible has answers to all your questions’ I really thought they had no idea about what they were saying. I mean, this book that has been there for ages – we are in the 21st century now, what answers can it possibly have for me??…But when I started reading it on my own and opening my heart to the words, the message, I now know better (I’m sorry people – you were right).
When we get saved and accept the Lord into our lives – our purpose in life then is no longer about us but about God. And so through salvation, we then start living a God-filled purposeful life. In light of this, three things stand out for me in these 2 verses:
- With fear and trembling
God knows that we have fear – but He tells us to work with it anyway. I really like this because it proves that fear is what we have, what we fight with, as human beings – and when we take it to Him, He uses it for His glory. One of the things I have always fought with is fear, but nowadays I remind myself that “greater is He that is in me than He that in the world”. That He took my fear into consideration, and all I need to do is to surrender my fear to His will!
A quick definition of trembling from dictionary.com is to “shake involuntarily with quick, short movements, as from fear, excitement, weakness, or cold…to be troubled with fear or apprehension. Fear is what we go through on the inside and it is exposed through trembling – so trembling is what people see, and for me this means that we should not be stopped by: ourselves or by those around us.
- God works in you
I learnt something about reading the Bible this year – to make sure that when reading the Bible we focus on every word, every punctuation/pause, because all of it has meaning. In this verse how the words ‘God works in you’ comes right after the fear and trembling. The fear and trembling is us, but when we allow God to work in us – we get to live out His purpose for our lives. Again, we should always remember it is not about us – but it is always about Him, He simply uses us! Through and in Him the fear we experience is replaced with the promise in 2 Timothy 1:7 (NKJV) – “For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind”.
- To fulfill His purpose
Now all this, all that we do is to ensure that He fulfills His purpose. He tells us to do it with the fear and trembling but also promises that it is He works in us to will and act in order to fulfill His purpose. Why, you ask? Because He knows that we can never do it on our own – without understanding verse 13 we end up giving up because of fear. The one thing I love about God is He takes and uses what we have for His purpose. Think about stories in the Bible when He asked Moses in Exodus 4:2 (NIV) “what is that in your hand?” This was after Moses had already exposed his fear in verse 1 when He asked “what if they do not believe me….” But what did Moses do? He did just as he was told; he threw the staff into the ground.
In the following verses Moses again talks about his lack of eloquence in speech – and God asks Him in verse 11 “who gave man his mouth…” and as Moses kept exposing his fears, God continued giving him instructions and in the end of the chapter it is confirmed that “and they believed”. God simply used what Moses literally had in His hand, his lack of eloquence in speech, and proved to Moses that despite all His doubts, God would still use him – as imperfect as he thought he was, all for God to fulfill His purpose
This week focus on Him – decide to not use fear and trembling as an excuse, but to allow God to use us as we are – that He may turn that fear will turn into confidence through Him.
Have a purpose filled week!