When our intentions and actions are guided by spirituality—our belief in our interconnectedness and love—our everyday experiences can be spiritual practices. We can transform teaching, leading, and parenting into spiritual practices. Brené Brown
Therefore, my dear friends, as you have always obeyed—not only in my presence, but now much more in my absence—continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who works in you to will and to act in order to fulfill his good purpose. The Apostle Paul (Philippians 2:12-13)
Paul’s statement in Philippians 2:12-13 is layered. First he says to work out our salvation. Then he says God is working in us. So which is it, Paul? Who is the savior: God or me? Or are we in some kind of salvation-collaboration?
I love N.T. Wright’s heading in his commentary on Philippians: How Salvation is Worked Out. Thank you. I’d like to know!
Truth is, verse 12 is hard to understand. It’s not quite the principle of “The Lord helps those who help themselves.” Salvation is God’s grace-based process from start to finish. But God wants us to work out for ourselves what this business of being saved means in practice. And I wonder if Paul is driving home the point that Paul himself is not responsible for the sanity of those whom he leads and influences. He is trying to get them/us to take responsibility for the day to day management of living into the saved-status God has lavishly supplied.
This maps nicely with the principle Brené Brown found in her research: Those who have learned to rise strong again and again view the rising strong process as a spiritual practice.
How does this align (or disconnect) with your view of spiritual practice? In what ways does it encourage you? In what ways does it challenge you?
I’ll start: I’m encouraged by the wisdom that says I need to DO something in order to experience transformation. This helps me know that I’m not crazy (entirely). When I’m loafing around expecting God’s goodness to make my life easy, I’m going to be disappointed. I’m also challenged. If I’m responsible for partnering with God in the transformative process, I’ve got some work to do– every day, in every setting.
What say you??
LORD God, give me spiritual eyes to see, and spiritual ears to hear, what the Spirit is directing me into– every day.
Reading Focus for Rising Strong, by Brené Brown
We are in week three, of this 6-week study. The focus is Chapters 5-6 of Rising Strong. The topics are: The Rumble, and Living BIG (Boundaries, Integrity and Generosity).
2 thoughts on “Everyday Spirituality (Day 17)”
There are two verses that came to mind immediately while reading this post. Hebrews 11:1 “Faith is the SUBSTANCE of things hoped for, the EVIDENCE of things not yet seen,” and James 2:26 “For just as the [human] body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works [of obedience] is dead.” How can I, John, say I believe in God who can restore and make things right if I continue to do the things that have broken my life in so many ways. I need to admit this is insane, I need to make a decision to turn my life and will over to His grace, and then look at where I’ve done wrong and choose to work toward wholeness by sharing with myself, with God, and with someone I trust. Taking the steps toward continued growth.
As you say, John, this principle appears over and over in scripture. The verses you share explain the tension between God’s Grace and our work. It seems like every person must come to grips with this tension at some point in life. Your hints at how ‘salvation’ works itself out in recovery is a real life example we can all relate to. Thanks!