Philippians 2:12-16 (The Message)
What I’m getting at, friends, is that you should simply keep on doing what you’ve done from the beginning. When I was living among you, you lived in responsive obedience. Now that I’m separated from you, keep it up. Better yet, redouble your efforts. Be energetic in your life of salvation, reverent and sensitive before God. That energy is God’s energy, an energy deep within you, God himself willing and working at what will give him the most pleasure.
Do everything readily and cheerfully – no bickering, no second-guessing allowed! Go out into the world uncorrupted, a breath of fresh air in this squalid and polluted society, Provide people with a glimpse of good living and of the living God. Carry the light-giving Message into the night so I’ll have good cause to be proud of you on the day that Christ returns. You’ll be living proof that I didn’t go to all this work for nothing.
The Message gives us a fresh, intelligent paraphrase of these few verses. The NIV translation (v 12b-13) says, “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.” Paul is encouraging the Philippians to be active participants in the way that their salvation expresses itself. Our spiritual growth is a response to God’s grace – let’s keep on!
Paul is also encouraging the Philippians in a way that we can encourage one another to continue in unified devotion to Christ, no bickering, no distractions. The NIV tells us in verse 15 that we will, “shine among them like stars in the sky as you hold firmly to the word of life.” The Message says, “Carry the light-giving Message into the night…” What’s clear in the passage that is that we, as Christ-followers, can be a distinct contrast to what the world offers without Christ.
Lord, work in me, develop in me a holy pursuit of Your will. Show me a way that I can shine Your light today. Amen.
By: Joy DeHaan