Work out you own salvation with fear and trembling. For it is God who is working in you, enabling you both to will and to act for His good purpose. — Philippians 2:12b–13
I was watching the highlights of the 1992 Summer Olympics when I could hardly believe my eyes. An amazing event had taken place during the 400-meter dash that afternoon. A runner from Great Britain by the name of Derek Redmon had suffered a leg injury during the race and had fallen on the track.
With no hope of placing, Derek refused to quit. He gathered himself to his feet and began to hobble to the finish line. Suddenly a man raced out of the stands and ran to Derek. This man placed his arm around the injured runner and arm-in-arm the two of them made it across the finish line. The man was Derek’s father. What a vivid example of living out the Christian life.
The verses above call us to “work out” our salvation. This does not mean that we are saved by works. Eternal salvation is by faith (Eph 2:8–9). Instead, it’s a call to take seriously the command to live out all areas of our Christian life in obedience to Christ. Therefore, we are to avoid allowing challenges or other interests to stop us from doing all we can to finish the race.
Even though we are to strive at doing our part, finishing is only possible because of God. Our heavenly Father is working in us, giving us His divine power to “will and to act” in order to enable us to make it across heaven’s finish line. No matter the challenges or temptations, Philippians 2:13 reveals that we have a Father who will walk with us arm-in-arm so we too can finish the race He’s given us. “He who calls you is faithful, who also will do it” (1 Th 5:24).
1. How does Galatians 2:20 relate to today’s topic?
2. How does Derek’s story relate to you as a competitor?
3. According to verse 13, why do we desire to live a godly life in and out of our sport?
Extra Reading: 2 Peter 1:3–11
Father, thank You for the grace to run the Christian race. Teach me how to walk each day believing in this truth. Amen.