Philippians 2:12-18

"So then, my beloved, just as you have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your salvation with fear and trembling; for it is God who is at work in you, both to will and to work for His good pleasure. Do all things without grumbling or disputing; that you may prove yourselves to be blameless and innocent, children of God above reproach in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation, among whom you appear as lights in the world, holding fast the word of life, so that in the day of Christ I may have cause to glory because I did not run in vain nor toil in vain. But even if I am being poured out as a drink offering upon the sacrifice and service of your faith, I rejoice and share my joy with you all. And you too, I urge you, rejoice in the same way and share your joy with me." Philippians 2:12-18 NIV

Have you ever wanted to do something that might impact your testimony for Christ in a negative manner but thought "There's no one here that I know so I'll just do it this once and it won't matter"? There's a couple of problems with this line of thinking. The first being that what we do should not be based on whether or not we know anyone that is around us at the time -- what matters is that God is there and He sees all. The second problem is that there may be someone there that uses our poor behavior as an excuse to choose the way of the world over the way of God.

Paul begins this passage of scripture by telling the Philippians that, even though he is not with them, they should live as they did when he was with them in Philippi. They should continue to live for Christ, sharing with their fellow neighbors and being a living testimony to all those around them. It shouldn't matter who is there and who isn't -- the way they lived their lives should always reflect the fact that they had chosen to follow Christ and allowed him to work in their daily lives.

Paul also tells the Philippians they should work out their salvation "with fear and trembling". The fear talked about in this scripture is the fear of a life that is not spent working out their salvation -- striving to grow in Christ, to be a witness to others of what Christ can do in our lives, being a friend to those that are friendless, working to "appear as lights in the world" -- the list was endless of the many ways in which the Philippians could reach out to their city in the name of Christ.

The same is true today for each one of us. We should be constantly working out our salvation. While God's work for us is complete (he has provided us with eternal life if only we will accept Him), his work is not yet complete IN us. It is a daily journey that we walk when we choose to follow Christ. We must choose to grow in Christ and to make choices that show the world we live in that we do follow Christ. We must allow our light to shine out into the world as a means to show the world what they too can have in Christ -- to show them the Joy they can find in Christ. A Joy that can only be found in Christ.

The next time we are out and we ask that question, "Does it really matter what I do?", remember that not only does God see, but the world sees. We should live in fear that we would cause someone to walk away from God due to our behaviour or attitude. In the same vein, we should live in the JOY of Christ for giving us a second birth and the ability to walk hand in hand with Him each and every day.

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