Philippians 2:12-13
12 Therefore, my out your own salvation with fear and trembling;
13 for it is God who works in you both to will and to do for His good pleasure.

If there is any verse in the Bible that I can relate to, it's this one.  I have spent most of my life worrying about my salvation. I don't believe however that we are meant to 'worry' about it, the fact that I worry is probably a sign in itself that I should be worrying. Part of my inscurity has come from the fact that I haven't been 'living-out' my faith, and for most part ignoring my conscience, eventually driving myself into deep depression and sin. It is only through God's amazing long-suffering, ever-abounding grace and immeasurable love that I have been brought to a place before Him, in humility and brokenness; to a place where nothing else mattered but Him and my eternity. 

Thus far my journay has been 2 years; and I'm still climbing. Each new step forward and back (I have a few of those) brings me to a fresh and tangible understanding of what it means to be a disciple of Christ and what this journey of self-denial really looks like. 

I'm a bit of a perfectionist, well I used to be, but these days I'm not so worried about things being perfect but about them be real; real in both mind and motive. I'm usually kinda hard on myself, which is good and bad. It's often bad because it means that I'm never doing anything as well as I think I should be, but it's good in the sense that I'm real with myself and don't like to allow myself an inch of excuse...or we know where that ends up; a mile down the wrong road. 

This perfectionsm has caused me much grief in my walk with Jesus, but at the same time it has helped to keep me there with Him. It's both a blessing and a curse. I have had to learn how to 'work-out' my salvation while at the same time being secure in it. Not an easy thing for a perfectionist to do. Being a bit of an achiever means I'm always hard on myself if I think that I could have done better. But to be honest I think that has been one of the biggest blessings from God...without it I most likely wouldn't have ever pushed through to be where I am today.

So what does it mean for me to 'work-out' my salvation: 

1. Get Real
For me, working out my salvation starts with being real with myself. If your good at giving yourself excuses and like to cut yourself some slack then that really isn't what I'd call 'working-out', that sounds more like 'getting out of it'. Get my drift? I've found that I can't be real with God until I'm honest with myself. I've have spent many nights lying in bed engaged in a conversation with God that goes something like this...

"God, I don't know why I keep doing that sin; I don't want to do it." Then I stop, get real with myself, and rephrase...
"Well actually, what I really should say is that I do want to do that sin and that's my problem...I want to not want to do it."

That's what I call being real with both myself and God. I'm never going to get anywhere while I'm kidding myself. The truth is that I still like my sin, yes I want to do what God wants me to do, but the problem is with my affection not simply my action. Until I'm honest with God and admit that I like my sin, then He doesn't have the opportunity to adress that issue. While I'm still denying my affection for my sin, I'm denying Him the freedom to change that affection.

2. Develop a Healthy Fear
I don't know about anyone else but my salvation is driven by fear. But, just like there is a difference between healthy and unhealth food; there is also a difference between healthy and unhealthy fear. Both food and fear are essential, but making the healthy choice is what determines a healthy life.

My fear used to be unhealthy and eventually made me spiritually unwell. I was afraid, and almost convinced, that I was going to end up in Hell. Not a nice way to live. I was convinced that I was a 'fake' and that despite all my self-punishment (emotionally, spiritually and physically) which was driven by hatred of who I had become, I was never going to get to Heaven. I was caught in a place where I knew that I couldn't 'earn' my salvation but also knew that without the fruit of salvation then the question of whether I was saved forever loomed over my head.

The root of that fear was sin. I wasn't ready to give up a certain part of me. It's weird really, I have nothing in my life that I care to hold onto, yet there is still a part of me that I'm afraid to loose. It's a bit like giving up smoking; you want to give it up because its bad for your health and may eventually kill you, but it's become so engrained in your life psychologically, emotionally and physically, that you struggle to let go even though you want's a love-hate relationship. That's how it's been with me and my old spirit hates it but my mind struggles to let it go.

My fear is slowly becoming more healthy. I still have a fear of God and His wrath, and that keeps me on my toes, but my fear has developed into something more beautiful. My fear is no longer of going to Hell, but of being away from Jesus. They are two in the same but vastly different. I have experienced the literal and fatal tourment of having a closeness with Jesus and feeling it slip away...that, I would have to say, is the worst thing that I have ever experienced; and I have experienced some pretty raw and painful stuff.

A healthy fear is about having a knowledge and respect for the almighty power, both in the love and wrath of God, and chosing the former. My fear is of not having Him, and where that leaves me...

More to come, stay tuned....