Phil. 2:12 Therefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling; …
As we put a close to 2013 and look forward to the year to come as believers in Christ this is always one of the best times of year to take a look at some key areas of our life and make sure we are on track with God. This is a major part of working out our own salvation with fear and trembling. We cannot work out someone else’s salvation, and we know we don’t work for our salvation, but once we are saved, there is a work to do, for we are now to work out the salvation we have been given.
We are to do so with fear, absolute awe, reverence, and respect for our God. Trembling refers here to an awareness of God’s presence in our life for when people were aware of His presence they often trembled. So if we are going to show respect and reverence for God, then we are going to examine our life and make sure we are showing respect to Him by being obedient to God as Paul states here that the Philippians were in fact doing so. So I want to share with you this week five key areas we should examine that have to do with working out our salvation.
1. WHAT ARE YOU FOCUSED ON
Heb. 12:1 Therefore we also, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us,
Heb. 12:2 looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.
We need to make sure we are pursuing God and that in doing so the burning passion of our heart each day is to simply get to know Him better. Even as elementary as that is, many believers are not passionately pursing getting to know God, which is what the heart of Christianity is all about. What we are doing with our life says a lot about what we are pursing. Notice Paul states here that we must lay aside every weight and the sin that so easily ensnares us, looking unto Jesus the originator and the finisher of our faith.
The phrase “looking unto” means to turn away from everything else, and focus on one thing. If we are focused on our relationship with the Lord, then that will be seen by what we do with our time. There are many weights that pull us back from pursuing our God. These weights pull us away from the Word of God, prayer, church, Christian fellowship, etc., and for many they don’t even realize it is happening. Think about how much time people devote in their life to television, Internet, social sites, and hobbies, yet they say they don’t have time to read the Word or come to church. All these things in and of themselves are not necessarily bad, but what we are doing with our time reveals what our hearts are really pursing. There is nothing better in life than getting to know God intimately and personally, but like any relationship that takes time with Him.
We must also lay aside the sin that so easily ensnares us. There are sins that may have us, or sins that we have them. The sins that may have us are strongholds and can be broken, but there are sins that we hold onto that we could lay aside any time we want. Those are the one’s that so easily ensnare us. Sin is the result of desires in the flesh that we become enticed with. We must adjust our focus to the Lord and lay every such sin aside for they are only going to hurt our life and our relationship with God. If we walk in the spirit, obeying the Word of God, we will not fulfill the lusts of the flesh.
2. LEAVE THE PAST BEHIND – DON’T’ GO BACK TO EGYPT
Heb. 11:15 If they had been thinking with [homesick] remembrance of that country from which they were emigrants, they would have found constant opportunity to return to it.
This scripture refers to those who had come out of Egypt, which is a type of the world, and if those who entered the promise land would have kept thinking about what they had in Egypt, they would have returned and not entered the promise land. Make sure you are not thinking like the world. Keep your mind renewed to the Word of God. Find out and keep meditating on who God says you are, and what God says you have. If you don’t deal with your thought life and you keep looking back to the ways of the world and that becomes the focus of your thinking, you will not enter into all that God has promised you in this life.
3. EXAMINE WHAT YOU ARE HEARING, SEEING, SAYING, AND DOING
Prov. 4:20 My son, attend to my words; consent and submit to my sayings.
Prov. 4:21 Let them not depart from your sight; keep them in the center of your heart.
Prov. 4:22 For they are life to those who find them, healing and health to all their flesh.
Prov. 4:23 Keep and guard your heart with all vigilance and above all that you guard, for out of it flow the springs of life.
Prov. 4:24 Put away from you false and dishonest speech, and willful and contrary talk put far from you.
Prov. 4:25 Let your eyes look right on [with fixed purpose], and let your gaze be straight before you.
Prov. 4:26 Consider well the path of your feet, and let all your ways be established and ordered aright.
Prov. 4:27 Turn not aside to the right hand or to the left; remove your foot from evil.
If you take time to examine these verses you will see that we are told to watch what we hear, see, say, and do. This is what determines the course your life is taking. What you hear, see, say, and do, you think about. If you don’t pay attention to these areas of your life then evil will win. If you don’t think so take a look at Ephesians 5:15-16, for Paul states the days are evil. If you don’t redeem your time you will automatically be influenced by evil. Too many believers live their lives out publically in front of everyone, especially on social sites. When you do you get all kinds of responses given to you, most of which even though the intent is good, it is not biblical and in line with scripture. Christians don’t realize that in reading and listening to such things you then ponder them in your mind and this is not guarding your heart. I have watched believers ignore what I am telling you and they continue to watch movies filled with trash, listen to music full of the world, and listen to friends that don’t give them godly counsel. Scripture is very clear on this subject and a simple way to say it is garbage in, garbage out. It is our choice, not Gods as to what we hear, see, say, and do.
4. EXAMINE YOUR MONEY
Matt. 6:19 “Don’t store up treasures here on earth, where they can be eaten by moths and get rusty, and where thieves break in and steal.
Matt. 6:20 Store your treasures in heaven, where they will never become moth-eaten or rusty and where they will be safe from thieves.
Matt. 6:21 Wherever your treasure is, there your heart and thoughts will also be.
The word “treasure” here refers to the place where we keep our money. Many believers don’t like this subject, but again scripture is very clear. God is not actually after your money, God wants your heart, and He wants to see us use our resources to reach the lost with the gospel. As Jesus goes on to state in verse 24 of this same chapter you cannot serve God and mammon. I used to serve mammon just like everyone has at one time or another in their life. I found out it is better to serve God. If we want to keep our heart where it needs to be, we must make sure we are not serving money, but in fact doing with our money what the Bible clearly states.
If you believe in the kingdom of God you will invest in the kingdom of God. Jesus, Paul, Peter, James, and all the disciples had to have money to preach the gospel. As Paul told the Philippians in writing to them they were the only church that consistently gave to help him preach the gospel. Because they had done so he declared that His God would in turn supply all their need according to His riches in glory. If our money is right with God our heart is right with God.
5. FAST AND PRAY TO GET GOD’S PLAN
Matt. 6:17 But you, when you fast, anoint your head and wash your face,
Matt. 6:18 so that you do not appear to men to be fasting, but to your Father who is in the secret place; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you openly.
Fasting and praying is a great way to begin the New Year seeking God and putting your flesh aside so you can get God’s plan for your life. Proverbs 19:21 declares that there are many plans in a man’s heart, but the Lord’s counsel will stand. As you set time aside to seek God in that secret place, drawing close to Him, He will reveal His counsel to you. God’s plans always work, so take time to seek Him through prayer and fasting. He will reward you openly. Take a look at these areas in your life and you can be ready for all God has for you in the New Year.
See You Again Next Week For More “Weekly Wisdom”
May God’s Best Be Yours!
Pastor Darryl Baker