“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 trembling.” —Philippians 2:12
Paul describes in II Tim. 1:5 the faith of Timothy, Lois and Eunice as “genuine faith.” Can that be said of you and of me? There’s the tendency to become outwardly familiar with God’s Word—so much so that we don’t internalize it. We know the plan of salvation. We know how to worship. We know how to establish authority. We know how the Lord’s church is to be organized. These are teachings we’ve heard all our life. But has the Word of God permeated into the very fabric of your life?
Paul’s point in Phil. 2:12 is that your faith is your own responsibility. Timothy’s faith wasn’t miraculously handed down by his mother or grandmother. He had to develop his own faith; come to his own convictions. Your faith is unique in that sense. It is yours.
A challenge that we face is we may be tempted to base our faith on others. The Corinthians’ spiritual measuring stick was one another, and Paul calls that behavior “not wise” (II Cor. 10:12). We do not base our faith on other people. We base our faith on THE FAITH. The Word of God needs to be the standard in my life. So before I go comparing someone else’s life to the scriptures, I must go to the Word of God to see how I can improve.
We understand the benefits of being around Godly people (Prov. 27:17). It’s a tremendous blessing. But it’s not a free ticket into heaven. We can say, “I’m a member of the church of Christ. I’ve been baptized. I’m surrounded by Christians.” You add it all up, and you’re convinced you’re good to go. But that kind of faith is based on everything around you instead of a faith that’s based on God’s Word.
In II Chron. 24:2, scripture says, “Joash did what was right in the sight of the Lord all the days of Jehoiada the priest.” However, later in the chapter, Jehoiada dies (v. 15)—and Joash chooses to no longer serve the Lord (v. 17-18). Joash did not have his own faith. It is an extreme necessity to build our own faith. Don’t be a Joash. Have your own faith.