Our Need for Improvement

Our Need for Improvement

This article is a reminder for each of us to focus upon our own, individual need for improvement rather than to look around at other people’s failings. 

Why do you see the speck that is in your brother’s eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye?  (Mt 7:3)

The Pharisee, standing by himself, prayed thus: ‘God, I thank you that I am not like other men, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even like this tax collector.  (Lk 18:11)

And as they continued to ask him, he stood up and said to them, “Let him who is without sin among you be the first to throw a stone at her.” And once more he bent down and wrote on the ground. But when they heard it, they went away one by one, beginning with the older ones, and Jesus was left alone with the woman standing before him.  (Joh 8:7-9)

As human beings, we have a tendency to look at other people and compare ourselves to others.  Most of the time, we do that when we want to see ourselves as “not being so bad.”  Other times, we look around at the circumstances of other peoples’ lives and we feel jealous.  It is not good to compare ourselves to others; it is what the Bible would term as foolishness.

As the verses shown above demonstrate, we should never focus on other people.  (2 Cor 10:12)

Also, there are a number of Scriptures instructing us to avoid comparing ourselves.  (Exo 20:17; Mt 7:1-2; Joh 21:22)

Rather, we should focus upon Jesus Christ and yearn to follow in His footsteps.  As we focus upon Christ, He will shower us with His love and encouragement.  He will give us a purpose and a plan for our lives, as well as all of the grace and mercy that we will ever need to fulfill that plan.  (Jer 29:11; 32:19; Pro 16:4; 19:21; 1 Cor 2:9)

Let us trust the Lord Jesus to transform us in His own way, in His own time.  We are His workmanship, and He will see the work through to its completion.  (Eph 2:10; Phil 1:6)  Just trust Him and trust His plan for you!  God bless you.

With Fear and Trembling

With Fear and Trembling

Therefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling13 for it is God who works in you both to will and to do for His good pleasure.  (Phil 2:12-13 – emphasis added)

The word fear in the above passage of Scripture means with reverence and respect.  The reference to trembling can be understood to mean with great humility and the type of weakness that causes us to rely completely and solely upon the Lord and His grace.  We should also have a huge desire to never offend God through disobedience, as well as a great awe for God’s majesty and holiness.

Now what could the author have meant by “work out your own salvation”?  This is the concept of bringing something to completion or maturity, such as when Paul describes himself as straining or “pressing on” toward the goal of being Christlike.  (Phil 3:13-14)  It’s our responsibility to cooperate with the Lord by obeying His Word and following His plan for our lives.  Part of that plan is for us to submit to our Savior by obeying His Word.

I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service. And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.  (Rom 12:1-2)

Obedience and submission to the God whom we revere and respect is only our “reasonable service” according to the passage shown above. 

We work out our salvation, then, by going to the source of our salvation—the Word of God—which is the only instrument available to us to renew our hearts and minds as we reverently seek to walk the path of ever-growing spiritual maturity.