I have started working on writing my second women’s Bible study on the topic of humility. Through that study, I have learned that nearly every teaching of Jesus needs to be filtered through a lens of humility. I mentioned in a previous blog that I am currently doing a Bible study with my sisters-in-law that is going through the book of Philippians. In one of this week’s lessons, we got to Philippians 2:12, 13 in which it talks about working out our own salvation.
I have learned enough about the Bible, that I know that isn’t referring to some kind of works-based system of salvation, as that would go against many other things Jesus teaches. So, what does it mean to work out our own salvation? Well, guess what, it has to do with humility!
The first four verses of Philippians 2 are discussing the great need for unity in our relationships with others. We are to do that through like-mindedness, love, humility, and looking to the interests of others. We are not to be conceited or focused on selfish ambitions.
Verses 5-11 continues on by sharing Jesus’ example on how to achieve that kind of unity in our relationships with others. Jesus accomplished that by humbling himself, being obedient and serving others.
That is when we finally get to the verses about working out our own salvation. Verse 12 starts with the word “Therefore.” So, when you see the word “therefore” you need to find out what it’s there for. We previously discovered in the two previous paragraphs that our purpose is unity and our example is Jesus’ humility. Paul is saying to the people in Philippi that his expectation is that during his absence they will continue to pursue unity through humility.
The best way for us to work on saving our relationships, our churches, our communities, our countries and our world is through working on developing humility. Better yet, it doesn’t stop at the work we put in! The very next verse gives us some very exciting news.
That verse tells us that at the same time we are busy working towards achieving that goal, God is also busy working in us to help us achieve that goal. It tells us that he is both working on our will and our actions. He is working to create a desire within us to want to create unity in our relationships. And, he is working within us in order to achieve outward actions based on those inner changes.
Isn’t God just amazing! Not only did he do all the work for us to receive our eternal salvation through Jesus’ sacrificial death on the cross, but now He continues to do work within us so we can achieve salvation in our earthly relationships and endeavors. He is saving us from confusion, chaos. and disunity to a life of power, love and a sound mind (II Timothy 1:7). All we need to do is learn how to take off pride and shame in our life and put on humility. You will get all that insight in my new book coming in 2020 entitled “Humility: The Insight Into God’s Kingdom.”