Saturday, August 22, 2015

Working For Salvation

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!"

Sunday, August 2, 2015

Leaders Lead–Even Under Pressure

"So they gave it to me, and I threw it into the fire, and out came this calf." Now when Moses saw that the people were out of control-for Aaron had let them get out of control. . . . Exodus 32:25

Leaders lead and don't make excuses or blame others when they fail to be responsible. Moses left Aaron in charge of the people while he went up on the mountain to be with the Lord. He was gone for forty days, during which time he received the Ten Commandments engraved by God on stone tablets. The Israelites figured that Moses was not coming back since he had been absent so long. They decided to rebel and turn away from the Lord, soliciting Aaron to make a new god for them to worship and follow. That is when Aaron failed to "man up" and lead with integrity. Instead, he caved to the pressure.

Not only did Aaron cave to the people's demands, but afterwards, instead of accepting responsibility for his sin, Aaron attempted to shift all the blame to the people. "Then Moses said to Aaron, "What did this people do to you, that you have brought such great sin upon them?" Aaron responded, "Do not let the anger of my lord burn; you know the people yourself, that they are prone to evil" (32:21-22). Real leaders lead because of their personal convictions which they received from God. Real leaders will also sin at times and may give in to peer pressure. When they do, they own up to their mistakes. They confess instead of concealing. They repent.

What kind of leader do you seek to be at home, at work, in your neighborhood, or among Christians when the pressure is on?