I still remember the first time I walked into a proper fully equipped gym, I was overwhelmed. First because of the equipment, what I was familiar with was small time gyms with a few weights and that was it and here I was standing in a fully decked out gym. Some of the equipment I had never seen before. It took me several sessions to get used to the treadmill, let alone know how to operate it. All the time during my sessions there I needed to work with a fitness instructor to show me what to do and how to work the equipment. I would be wowed by the different individuals who would come in on their own and go through their fitness session alone without any instructor. They knew how to work out their fitness plan.
12 So then, my dear ones, just as you have always obeyed [my instructions with enthusiasm], not only in my presence, but now much more in my absence, continue to work out your salvation [that is, cultivate it, bring it to full effect, actively pursue spiritual maturity] with awe-inspired fear and trembling [using serious caution and critical self-evaluation to avoid anything that might offend God or discredit the name of Christ].
Paul is telling the Philippians, “You guys have been great obeying all that I have been telling you but now in my absence, continue doing the same.” In my absence continue to work out your own salvation, cultivate it and pursue spiritual maturity. Paul is saying, I have been your gym instructor showing you the ropes and what exercises you need to do to strengthen this and that muscle but now I am not with you, keep doing what I have taught you to do. You were not doing it for me or to impress me so even in my absence keep doing it. Keep praying, keep reading the word, keep loving one another, keep attending fellowship, keep forgiving, keep considering others as better that yourself, keep reaching out, keep giving………..Keep manifesting on the outside what Christ has done on the inside of you.
Are you working out your salvation with fear and trembling or do you constantly need someone to push you to do what you know you need to do? This verse talks about discipline, it talks about faith, it talks about vision and determination. Doing what you know you must do even when you don’t feel like doing it so that you can display what has been done on the inside of you.
God is our source and our strength and we can do nothing on our own, we depend on Him but that being said, He has his part and we have our part to play, question is “Are you working out?”