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21, 22, 23, 24…. I kept going. I wanted to do 50 bicep curls on the weight machine at the fitness club.  I had my earbuds in and was listening to a podcast sermon.  48, 49, 50…. Next was the tricep weight machine for another 50.  Then, I worked on my abdominal muscles and my legs with the same vigor.  Just then I heard the pastor quote Philippians 2:12, “Work out your salvation with fear and trembling.” He emphasized the words, “work out” and I laughed because it was as if the pastor was standing there right next to me.

Work out your salvation….

I looked around at all the others who were exercising and wondered if they work on their spiritual well-being as hard as they do on their physical bodies.  Then I asked myself the same question.  Am I willing to sacrifice, work hard and be diligent in strengthening my faith?  My walk with the Lord?  Studying God’s Word?  Serving the Lord and doing what He has called me to do?

Christians are saved by grace, so what do we have to “work out?”

We don’t work to earn our salvation, but it really is work to live out and become what God has already granted us.  A few phrases come to mind:

Live out our salvation, walk it out every day

Work toward God’s goal for us – becoming more like Christ

Strive, never stop looking forward

Use wisely what God has given us

Read, study, learn God’s Word and His ways

Exercise our faith, believing what God says

Press on, don’t shrink back and fall into sin

Don’t sabotage the sanctification process and the changes God is making within us

Discipline ourselves not to become lazy in our spiritual walk

Search for the truth in Scripture, never stop seeking

Surrender our wills to God

Sacrifice our time and serve others

Intercede for others in prayer

Give of our tithes and offerings to further the work of the Lord

Whew!  That’s a lot of work!  But Paul exhorts us to continuously strive to become what God is already working in us.

Some people resist the changes God is leading them to make and struggle against becoming more like Christ.  Many refuse to sacrifice their own comfort or desires in order to do what God may be asking of them.  They become spiritually lazy by failing to grow in their relationship with God through prayer and Bible study.  These types of behaviors actually work against God as He takes us through the sanctification process.

Work out your salvation…with fear and trembling.

Fear and trembling.  Those words sound a little negative.  But actually, they are also very positive words that describe our attitude toward the Lord as we press forward.  Isaiah 66:3 says, “This is the one I esteem, he who is humble and contrite in spirit, and trembles at my word.”  

A contrite person is repentant, humble and whose will is surrendered to the Lord. Trembling at God’s word means an attitude of reverence, awe and respect toward God. The exact opposite is pride and boldness.   James 4:6 says, “God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.”

Spiritual Workout

Working out our salvation means doing all we can to cooperate and participate with God’s sanctifying work within us.

Are you willing to put as much effort into your spiritual “workout” as you do for your physical workout?


Laurie Driesen About Laurie Driesen

Laurie Driesen is a writer, entrepreneur and business owner. Her passion is to encourage and strengthen people's faith by sharing the truth of God's Word through her writing. In her recently published book, Beyond Regret - Living Your Life Purpose in Spite of Past Choices, Laurie shares how God uses our mistakes and detours to lead us into His will and accomplish His true purpose for our lives. Check out her website for more.


  1. Great reminder, Laurie. Thanks for sharing!

  2. Laurie Driesen says:

    Thanks for your comment Cynthia! I need to learn to always press forward and not shrink back. I feel like Paul encourages really encourages us to do that.

  3. Becky Lijewski says:

    I enjoyed your insight on spiritual workout. It makes me realize I need to push harder. Nice reminder!

  4. Laurie Driesen says:

    Hi Becky- thanks for your comment! I feel like it’s hard work at times and that’s probably why Paul encourages us to keep pressing forward!

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