Experiencing The Joy of The Submissive Mind


Some people try to make verse 12 say we need to “work for our salvation” instead of “work out our salvation.” Paul is writing to people who are already Christians. He is telling them to put into practice in their daily living what God has already worked in them by His Holy Spirit. This outworking was to be done with “fear and trembling,” which means with a complete trust in God and not in themselves. God must work in us before He can work through us (v. 13). It seems that many Christians obey God only because of pressure on the outside, rather than by power on the inside. In the natural man we have a tendency to obey God only when others are watching. The power that works in us is the power of the Holy Spirit of God (Acts 1:8).

Evidently the believers at the church at Philippi were arguing and complaining among themselves (v. 14).  As a result, non Christians were saying, “If that is a Christian I don’t want to be one.” Our lives should be characterized by moral purity, patience and peacefulness. God’s people are to “shine like the stars” (v. 15). It is not by leaving the world but by ministering to it that we see God’s purpose fulfilled in our lives. The joy of the Christian life comes from submission (vv. 16-18). It should not be a series of disappointing “ups and downs.” Instead it should be a sequence of delightful “ins and outs.” God works in us and as a result we need to “work out.” This is accomplished through the Word, prayer and suffering.


Is it costing me anything to be a Christian? If it isn’t then I am probably not doing anything that is meaningful or lasting for the Lord.

Philippians 2:09-16 (English Standard Version)

Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. Therefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, so now, not only as in my presence but 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 work for his good pleasure. Do all things without grumbling or questioning, that you may be blameless and innocent, children of God without blemish in the midst of a crooked and twisted generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world, holding fast to the word of life, so that in the day of Christ I may be proud that I did not run in vain or labor in vain.

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