There are certain situations where I particularly struggle to be godly. Usually I have the expectation that those times will be harder, but I don’t necessarily try harder to “live in a manner worthy of the gospel of Christ” (Philippians 1:27). I just assume that I will fail and then feel guilty about it, using my ungodliness as an excuse to escape the situation or not put myself in it again. Such a sinful attitude.
We’ve been reading Philippians at church and bible study. Last week we focused a bit more on 2:12-13.
“So then, my dear friends, just as you have always obeyed, not only my presence, but now even more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling. For it is God who is working in you, enabling you both to desire and to work out His good purpose.”
These verses rebuked me, as they leave no excuse for laying down to my sin and letting it just rule me, but to be active in my progress in godliness. It covers the other end of the struggle in addressing the fact that we cannot do it alone; those times when I struggle with pride and feeling “extra godly” – it is actually God enabling us to work and even to desire to work out his good purpose.
I was also reminded of Romans chapter 6, and I think I’m starting to understand what it means and how it works out that we “have been set free from sin and have become slaves to God” (6:22a). I am no longer a slave to sin, so why do I still act like it by succumbing to my expectations that things will be hard and I will be sinful?
“But thanks be to God that, though you used to be slaves to sin, you wholeheartedly obeyed the form of teaching to which you were entrusted. You have been set free from sin and have become slaves to righteousness”(Romans 6:17-18).
And as I struggle today with things I need to prep for tomorrow, pray that I would obey: “Do everything without grumbling and complaining, so that you may become blameless and pure, children of God without fault in a crooked and depraved generation, in which you shine like stars in the universe, as you hold out the word of life…” (Philippians 2:14-16a).