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. Philippians 2:12-13
Referring to verse 12 above, the young missionary who sat in front of me in my apartment insisted that we must work for our salvation. I was a young college student at the time and would have been caught by his reasoning had I not known the rest of the verse. You see, he stopped short of reading the entire sentence, "for it is God who is at work in you, both to will and to work for His good pleasure." The context tells us that Paul was writing to those who were already saved, not unbelievers, but people who had God living in them! Paul wanted the Christians to "work out" what was already in them, to allow God in them to live His live through them. He was not saying one needed to work to earn his salvation or to save one's self. What a relief!
I think we Christians forget who lives in us. We get back on the treadmill of performance for God, trying to maintain His love, trying to prove we are worthy of His love, and also to impress others. Remember, we were saved by His grace. We did nothing to earn eternal life, and we can do nothing to maintain it! God is alive in you.
Do you know the truth when it comes to salvation? Do you know what the Scriptures teach about how to work for God, empowered by His grace and strength, and not your own wisdom and power? Simply ask the Holy Spirit to control, empower, and freely live through you today. "It is God who is at work in you!"