Generally I read the New Living Translation, but today I will be taking from the New King James Version, which reads: '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; for it is God who works in you both to will and to do for His good pleasure.' This is another of the great overarching principles of the life of the believer: active co-operation in faith that God is at work! I have heard it said by preachers that it doesn't matter what you do, you can do absolutely nothing, you are still a child of God. This is in reaction to other preachers, perhaps more traditionally-based who decree that Christianity should be muscular: get stuck in, it is all about what you do, roll your sleeves up, there is work to be done! As with most of Christian living there is a balance to be found. Take another look at Paul's words in 1 Corinthians 13. It may seem at first read that he is advocating the 'resting' option as he writes, 'Even if I gave everything I have to the poor and even sacrificed my body, I could boast about it; but if I didn't love others, I would have gained nothing.' However, think of Paul's action-packed life, giving up everything in order to spread the Good News of Jesus Christ! I have had opportunity to encourage other Christians in re-balancing their walk with Christ and to those whose first thought is 'What can I do for Jesus', I advise them to spend more time quietly with Him, and for those whose tendency is quiet meditation, I encourage to get involved in activity for Jesus. How do we work out our own salvation, even whilst trusting that God is doing the vast majority of the necessary work in us? It requires discipline. Just as I write these blogs to you each day and as you read them daily, I would encourage you to read step by step through the Bible. Read the New Testament steadily, then read the Old Testament as you would a book that you had on your shelf, in big gulps-you will need momentum to get you through! Perhaps, have a notebook where you could write questions. I'm always happy to answer them or if you have Bible commentaries or even Google...Pray every day. If it works for you, journal your thoughts at the end of each day. Talk with another Christian with whom you meet regularly. God bless you.
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