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A Prayer to Walk in Obedience
By Emily Rose Massey

“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, for it is God who works in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure” (Philippians 2:12-13, ESV). 

My husband and I have always tried our best to instill good manners and a high expectation of obedience from our sons. “I obey right away” is a common phrase we hear in our home. Children should obey their parents because it is the right thing to do as it pleases the Lord, just as Colossians 3:20 and Ephesians 6:1 tells us.   Sometimes as adults, we seem to think we are off the hook of the “I obey right away” mentality. But as a child of God this expectation is still in place throughout our whole lives. Obedience can often seem like a chore or a burden, but it is truly the mark of a mature Christian. 

Your growth in Christ relies greatly on your commitments to think, worship and work rightly. God wants us to learn how to obey Him, but we must remember that obedience is the fruit of salvation, not the root of salvation. Our good works will never earn right standing before God; Apart from our faith in the finished work of Christ, our righteous deeds will always fall short of God’s holiness (Isaiah 64:6). But just because we will fall short of God’s holiness does not mean that He hasn’t called us to be holy just as He is holy. But how does that work? 

This process of continuing to grow in Christ and walk in obedience is called sanctification; It is the Christian’s growth in grace to become more Christ-like day by day. Since God has deposited in us salvation, we must cooperate with God to work it out to bring it into fullness and completion with sustained effort and diligence by the power of the Holy Spirit. 

The Apostle Paul shares with the Philippian church that it isn’t enough to proclaim your salvation, but as believers, we should see it worked out in our life, bearing fruit for all to see:

“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, for it is God who works in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure” (Philippians 2:12-13, ESV).

God gives us His grace and His Spirit, so we do not have to walk out this calling alone or powerless. Even though we are partnering with God in our sanctification, ultimately, He is the one who is doing the work in us- transforming our old ways and conforming us to look more like Christ. Your attitude towards God is essential in growth and godliness. We must understand that He is sovereign and in control, not us. It’s out of a heart of love for Him that we serve Him. It’s not about “pulling yourself up by your bootstraps,” but your good works flow from a heart of worship unto the Lord. We do not tremble because we will lose our salvation (John 10:29).

Your dependence upon the Lord, which is not passive but an active cooperation between you and God, empowers your obedience and develops your sanctification all for God’s glory. God desires relationship with you and is pleased with your obedience because you are His child and because you care to walk in His ways. We do not have to see obedience as a chore or burden; The Lord can help us see it as a delight as we lean upon His grace and Spirit to see our salvation bear lasting fruit for His glory.

Let’s pray:

Father God,
I must admit that I struggle to obey You immediately. I know that delayed obedience is still disobedience. Just as You command children to obey their parents, You command Your children to obey You. I long to work out my salvation with fear and trembling in You because the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom. I want to make wise decisions that honor and please You above all. I need Your grace and Spirit to empower me to obey, so I rest in You and trust You are working in my regenerated heart. Please give me a hunger for Your Word so that my mind can be renewed to be able to say no to the world and the flesh and yes to You. Thank You for finishing the work You have begun in me.
In Jesus’ name, amen.

Photo credit: ©GettyImages/Zbynek Pospisil

headshot of Emily MasseyEmily Massey began writing short stories and poetry as a little girl, entered the blogging world in her early 20s, and published her first book in 2015. She enjoys being a stay-at-home momma while still being able to pursue her passion as a writer. Believing she has been forgiven much, she loves much, and desires to point others to Christ and His redemptive and transforming power, especially by sharing truth found in God’s written Word. If you would like to connect with Emily, you can visit www.emilyrosemassey.com

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