Philippians 2:9-13 (ESV)
9 Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name, 10 so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, 11 and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.
12 Therefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, so now, not only as in my presence but 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 work for his good pleasure.
Although the passage we have focused on this week is short, we should not overlook the depth of truth that exists within it. The first part of Philippians 2 summarizes the central place that Jesus plays in God’s redemptive plan. It highlights the mystery of contrasting humility and eternal redemptive power. Against all human logic, God speaks to His Creation through a personal appeal. God comes in person, in human form. He is not an avatar or some higher form of thinking that only a select few can comprehend or understand.
So powerful is the salvation that Jesus brings, that every person and all creation will ultimately have to acknowledge that Jesus is Lord. The signs that this salvation is working are seen in very observable ways:
The sign of action: Ysilda Rivero demonstrates the power of salvation in the extraordinary work she is doing in Bolivia. Even in a pandemic her concern is focused on her students and their plight of lost learning opportunities. Verse 13 makes clear that our relationship with Jesus and our subsequent life of obedience to Him is started and sustained by His power. Ysilda is a living case study of salvation that saves, sustains and yields the fruit of Holy Spirit empowerment.
Ask yourself, has the pandemic simply wore me out or can I see the sustaining empowerment of the Holy Spirit to serve those even more “worn out” than I am?
The sign of fear and trembling: Verse 12 calls for us to work out our salvation with fear and trembling. The fear and trembling do not refer to fright or hiding from punishment. Rather, this is an emotion of realizing that following Jesus cannot be accomplished in our own endurance. Life is simply too complicated and messy. Our fear and trembling are the realization that without God’s empowerment we are not going to complete the work set out for us. The really good news is that that same power that raised Jesus from the dead now energizes our lives in reflecting Jesus in our daily existence.
Ysilda Rivero is a prime example of bringing resurrection power to the hope starved community where Valentina lives. This is not just compassion; it is the power of a transformed life that is sustained by the continuing work of the Holy Spirit.
Ask yourself, is my compassion for people in need simply a reflex emotion or is it empowered by an overwhelming desire to see their lives completely transformed by the power of the Holy Spirit?
Vice President, ChildHope
The story of Valentina and her teacher Ysilda Rivero is typical of the challenges that ChildHope faces in Bolivia and the other countries we serve. Think about the devastation that COVID has brought to so many families here in our nation. Then consider what the impact might be if we did not have the kinds of medical resources that we possess. Pray that our ministry will continue to thrive as ChildHope schools begin to open again. Pray for our teachers, who have been stretched to the limits of their endurance. Pray that they will be empowered by the “energy” of our resurrected Lord both “to will and to work for His good pleasure.’’
Scripture quotations are from The ESV® Bible (The Holy Bible, English Standard Version®), copyright © 2001 by Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.