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 according to his good purposes.
As you approach the New Year, God is challenging you to continue in your spiritual journey of transformation. The Holy Spirit will continue His work daily in your life, forming the image of Christ in the heart of your life. Paul told his friends in Philippi that they must continue to work out their salvation. He knew how easy it was to become discouraged, give up, or even become lazy in their spiritual growth. Paul reminded them that God was working His purposes in them and that it would require their diligence in obedience to press on in their spiritual journey as they responded to God’s grace.
Paul continues to tell the Philippians that they are called to live blamelessly in the midst of a crooked generation, that they are called to shine as they hold out God’s Word of truth. And we, too, are called to live blamelessly – to shine as stars in a world that is crooked and depraved.
(Philippians 2:15) People are looking for hope, for truth, and for light in the darkness, and as believers we hold the light of Christ in our hearts and the truth that will set them free.
Later in his letter to the Philippians, Paul writes that he must forget what lies behind and press on to what lies ahead. (Philippians 3:12-14) He recognized that spiritual growth is hindered when we live in the past with our sins, our regrets, and our shame. He knew that in order to go forward, he had to forget what was behind and strain toward what was ahead. He longed to take hold of that which Christ had procured for him.
What is it that keeps you from pressing on in your spiritual journey?
What do you need to let go of so that you can grab hold of the promises that God has for you? The goal is spiritual transformation. The Christian life is like a race. Just as the winner of the Greek races received a wreath of leaves, the Christian receives an award of salvation. Paul reminds us in his letter that we run the race to continue to work out this gift of salvation, allowing God to work His purposes into our lives. A whole New Year lies in front of you.
Are you ready to press on in the race and claim your reward? Consider how the Lord is calling you to fulfill His purposes.
Help me to let go of the past – those things that haunt me and stunt my spiritual growth. I long to go forward in my journey with You, to lay hold of the promises of God, and to press on into the purposes You have for me.
In Jesus’ name, Amen