Only One risen Saviuor

Only One risen Saviuor
There is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved - Jesus

Thursday, 23 April 2015

The Blame Game

Philippians 2:12 "Therefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling; 13 for it is God who works in you both to will and to do for His good pleasure."
14 Do all things without complaining and disputing, 15 that you may become blameless and harmless, children of God without fault in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world, 16 holding fast the word of life, so that I may rejoice in the day of Christ that I have not run in vain or labored in vain."
The counsel here about working out our own salvation with fear and trembling is often misunderstood. We have to remember the context and then the picture comes into focus. The stress level is high in Philippi and it's causing them to turn on each other. As we discussed stressful situations either pull people together or tear them apart.
You may find it fascinating to learn that the Jews even today believe that if all Jews kept the Sabbath properly for even one day their Messiah would come. I share this to point out the underlying thinking. "If we are good, good things will happen". Now flip that idea around. "If bad things are happening we must be doing bad things". Now Paul is in prison which is bad so that means it's likely they feel this is some kind of punishment for their "badness".

Combine these two: stress turns people against each other and bad is happening because they are bad. See the fruit of those two things? A wide open blame game.
Into this volatile and divisive atmosphere Paul says "work out your own salvation with fear and trembling...". Fear and trembling is an expression that means "with humility". What Paul is saying is that if you are going to look for fault or criticize or play the blame game look at yourself not others. Then the true key is the next sentence - "For it is God who works in you both to will and to do of His good pleasure".
The truth in that sentence is deep and wide while at the same time simple. Only God can give us a heart that both wants to do and does the things He loves. Stress and fighting and blaming are far from His ways. Attacking others and finding fault in them is even further from His ways. Paul is diffusing the situation by turning their eyes back to themselves and more importantly to God. He is the source of our transformation. He is the source of our peace. He is the source of all that is good.
When we turn from Him because of stress we become harmful to ourselves and others. When we turn to Him in stressful situations we become a blessing and bring healing and hope into the situation.
Paul is the prisoner but because His eyes are on Jesus look at the influence he is having. How about us? When trouble comes do we bring division and add to the stress or does His presence in our lives bring a calming big picture perspective?
"Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the beginning and finisher of our faith." Let's do it today and every day.

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