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Thursday, May 1, 2014

Working It Out

There are passages in the Bible of which I am not overly fond.  The primary reason is that they are really too easy to understand and make really strong demands on me.  Revelation is a lot more fun to study – after chapter 5 it becomes a little more difficult to apply personally (note that my tongue is firmly planted in my left cheek as I type).
Although we are complete in Christ, we have to work that out in our lives...  Thoughts at DTTB.
I have shared with some of the men with whom I meet that I would like to take Philippians 2 out of the Bible.  It is way too convicting.  Really cramps my self-centered style.  While it is crystal clear what Paul is telling us the impact of our union with Christ should be on our behavior, it is not easy, at least not for me, to get there.

I spend a lot of time in Galatians, Ephesians, Colossians, and Philippians.  They are what Bobby Clinton calls core books for what I do with men.  Earlier this week I was talking with a friend about some common ministry emphases.  During the conversation we were talking about the believer’s completed position in Christ, probably best described in Colossians 2:9 – 10.  He asked how we self-lead ourselves in light of this truth.  Great question.

His point was that we do not simply trust Christ and sit like a lump waiting for Him to give us all that we need.  We are charged to move.  We cannot move apart from Him (John 15:5), but we are to move.  That conversation has been literally keeping me awake.  Thinking through it has drawn me to Philippians 2:12 – 13 yet again.

Hover your mouse over the reference – note the tension.  “Work out your salvation…it is God who is at work in you both to will and to work…”  We are to engage.  We are to pursue.  We do that in the strength of God, which, by the way, is substantial.  What that looks like seems to be what Paul is describing at some length in Philippians 3 (I have written about the tension in Philippians 3 here).

If we claim to be Christ’s apprentices and we are not struggling with this… well it might be well to follow Paul’s advice in 2 Corinthians 13:5.

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