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The Work of Spiritual Formation

Therefore, my dear friends, continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who works in you to will and to act according to his good purpose. Philippians 2:12,13

The verb "work out" used in this verse was used in the time of Christ in referring to mining of precious metal. Those who owned the land extracted out from within the mine all of its richness and all of its value in the mining of silver. Likewise, I am to mine out of my life what God has richly deposited there in the matter of salvation. I am to produce precious nuggets of personal character from what God has planted in me. This assumes effort and a commitment to the process of my salvation coming to the outside in the sense that it is manifest in my conduct.

1. Discuss this statement:

This much is certain: we will not be able to do any of our other work ‘as unto the Lord' unless we are daily working to improve in our walk with Him.

Do you agree/disagree? Why?

2. Why is "work" an appropriate word to use when thinking about the subject of Philippians 2:12,13? What makes it work? James 4:4 (Page 1198); Romans 7:21-23 (Page 1118); Ephesians 6:10-12 (Page 1160)

In light of these challenges, ‘fear and trembling' is a proper reaction to our weakness and the power of temptation. It is a healthy fear that puts us on guard and motivates us to use all the resources available to us for the work of spiritual formation.

3. Review what some of those resources are and share any ways that they have made you more effective in seeing all your work bring glory and honor to the Lord.

 1 Peter 2:2 (Page 1201); 2 Timothy 3:16,17 (Page 1179)____________________________

 Ephesians 3:20 (Page 1158); Galatians 5:22,23 (Page 1155)_________________________

 Proverbs 27:17 (Page 653)___________________________________________________

 Ephesians 4:11-13 (Page 1158)________________________________________________

 James 1:2-4 (Page 1196)_____________________________________________________

 James 1:5 (Page 1196)_______________________________________________________

4. How should a person know when the work of spiritual formation is making progress in his or her life? To return to our original idea, what sorts of "glorifying God" should we expect to see in our lives as we work at working out our salvation in fear and trembling?

5. Often it helps to set goals for our work. What are some goals for the work of spiritual formation you would like to set for your life?

"…grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To him be glory both now and forever!..." 2 Peter 3:18