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.
The Avengers comics and movies have been huge box office hits. We love watching these superheroes save the day against evil. It is a storyline we never tire of and rightfully so. One of the most human Avengers is Iron Man. The cocky and highly intelligent Tony Stark dons an iron suit that is powered by a special Arc Reactor fueled by a substance called palladium. The Arc Reactor powers his iron suit to allow him to not only fly but to perform superhuman acts of strength and shoot blasts of energy from his hands. It also allows him to take an incredible amount of violent attacks from evil villains without his body being hurt as the suit absorbs the blows.
As we read through the second chapter in Philippians, the Apostle Paul gives us some insight into what our Christian walk looks like. In verse 12, he first tells us to ‘work out’ our salvation with fear and trembling. This phrase is not referring to us somehow earning our salvation on our own. It is referring to us living out the salvation Jesus Christ has already bought for us.
Verse 13 is interesting. Paul goes on and says “for it is God who works in you to will and to act in order to fulfill his good purpose.” Did you catch this It is God, and God alone who ‘works’ in you and me in order for us to fulfill God’s purpose He has planned for us. The New Living Translation states it this way:
“For God is working in you, giving you the desire and the power to do what pleases him.”
It is God, and God alone that gives us both the DESIRE and POWER to do what pleases Him. Any effort on our part is useless and does not please Him. As with Iron Man’s Arc Reactor, the Holy Spirit inside of us (Christ in us) is what gives us the ability to walk a holy life and to please God. Without it, we are like Tony Stark in an iron suit with no power source. We would be burdened and pretty much useless, striving to please God without the ability to do it.
The point of this is you, and I must plug into our power source and allow Him to give us the power to defeat the enemy and please God. Praise God we don’t need to do it on our own!