Workout Your Own Salvation

Salvation isn’t a static object. It’s a barbell we were meant to move, and use to make us strong.

Philippians 2:12

We are told to workout our own salvation “with fear and trembling”. And obviously he isn’t meaning workout in the sense of exercise in the gym…but it becomes an apt analogy fast, especially as “Paul” is fond of utilizing exercise and sport as metaphors for The Way.

Anyone who works out will know there is much fear and trembling. Holding heavy weight over your head and straining to lift it or hanging your body from a bar and pulling your entire being. There’s an element of fear. And if we do it right there will be much trembling too.

As in working out so also in salvific matters, much dedication must go into both form and function. What kind of results are we looking for? We must gear the workout accordingly in order to achieve our goal.

And in our salvation and workouts both, the vast majority of the effort is not in the gym but in the kitchen and the bedroom…what we eat (or avoid eating) and how we sleep make all the difference to achieving our goal or not.

In both salvation and working out too, action is required on our part. For sure, the Protestant constitution is balking at this already. But no. No one is telling you Messiah didn’t do all the saving part. But we aren’t talking about the finished work on the cross at the moment, are we? Like “Paul” we are speaking about the Way of Salvation”, as in the Way of those who already have their salvation. You’ve got it…now what do you do with it. You were gifted a bar bell. Not to hold but to move.

If we are obese and wanting to get fit, we can hardly hope for someone else to do what is needed. Instead we are hoping for that other one to help us along the way while we put in the work. He does for us all that we can not…and then inspires us and empowers us to do all that we can.

We have to be the ones to stop stuffing our faces with junk food. Both physical and spiritual. We have to be the one to lift heavy things in a controlled and precise manner and to get the proper rest at the proper time.

He can buy us the gym membership, but He can’t workout for us. He bought us our Salvation, but we have to be the ones to workout that Salvation “with fear and trembling”.

And we do not do so alone. The Messiah is there all along as our spotter and our dietitian and trainer, helping us lift what is too much for us, enabling us to push for more and strive farther than we would be otherwise able on our own. And He’s always encouraging us to be wise in our leisure habits and in all that we consume.

And much more, the wisdom the Master imparts to us in helping us focus on what matters, and what we can control, and what we can aid and what we can change…about ourselves, not others. “…workout yourown salvation with fear and trembling.”

We can not workout on behalf of others any more than our Master can workout for us. We can buy them the gym membership as one was bought for us but we can’t implant the desire to do what needs to be done with it. We can encourage and inspire others in The Way, to be sure. But we can not do the work for them.
And we can not worry about them or force them or reprimand them. All we can manage, because all that is in our power to manage, is
to “work out own own salvation with fear and trembling”.

That done then we will know by experience how the workout is done, and how the results are achieved. Then and only then will we have the shape that inspires others to strive in like manner, to discipline themselves as we have done and possess the capability of spotting them in their workouts without placing them in danger.

Anything else is a waist of our time and theirs, interference where we don’t belong, shaming those who are not yet inspired to do the work or have not yet achieved the desired results, and neglecting our focus where it actually belongs and where it can actually accomplish good results.

So next time you read through Philippians ponder this analogy. And the next time you’re tempted to think salvation is some static object, think better of it as a bar bell. It’s much more than an object. It’s a thing to be moved and a thing to make us strong.

And the if ever you are tempted to think the Most High is supposed to do everything for you, think again. He made you to move. And before start to focus on someone else’s salvation, remember you can only worry about your own workout.

Question Everything

Caleb Lussier

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