God is up to something good – in us! (Encouragement from Philippians 2)

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God is up to something good in us, friends in Christ. Philippians 2:13 tells us that God is at work in us, and He is pleased with His success.

12Therefore, my beloved, just as you have always obeyed, not only in my presence but now even more in my absence, continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling. 13For it is God who works in you to will and to act on behalf of His good pleasure.

There’s a lot of meat in Philippians 2, and I don’t want you to miss it, so I will include the link below, but I want to focus in on verse 13 – God is at work in us. How is He working in us? I believe the verse is saying that He is working in our hearts (our will), and in our actions. He is working in us and through us. That would be good if that was all, but it is not. The tail end of the verse encourages us that God is happy about the work He is doing in and through us – “… for His good pleasure.” 


Why do I find this encouraging? Because for me, it tells me that God is still in control, that He is productive in and through me, and that He is happy about this productivity. Because of His work – in and through us – we are bearing fruit. The body may be in pain, the mind may slip, the spirit feel anxious or depressed, but God is still at work – in and though us. We are bearing fruit. No, HE is bearing fruit, in and through us. Maybe I am taking this out of context.

What do you think? Comment below.

Pastor John


  1. I have always loved this entire chapter. Yes, God is at work in me and that He will act for His pleasure is a great encouragement. It reassures me that as long as I let him drive, we won’t crash! In fact, he’ll be sure all is well with my soul, that I’ll be fit to love and serve him, no matter what my circumstance. I think as a mobility challenged senior, it means He will keep finding ways to use me…and that is the essence of life.
    P.S. Anyone else ever get stuck on the admonition that we are to work out our salvation with fear and trembling? It seems to be at odds with the love God, trust Jesus ( who paid the price), love your neighbor as yourself, John 3:16 things.
    I know some words don’t have exact translations and that possibility this is a call to gratitude, humility,spiritual vigilance…anyone else have any thoughts???

    * Like on a totally different Gospel passage I was flummoxed by very strong language. Luke 14:26…it was explained to me by a pastor that the intent was very likely not a call to hate anyone, but an admonition to prefer Him and His mission ( and put them before) love of mother, father etc…Not that I think discipleship should be a walk in the park.🙏

    1. First of all, I love the word picture of letting God drive so we won’t crash. As for verse 12, “work out your own salvation”, I have heard the interpretation as this … From God’s perspective, we are secure. We are in Jesus’ hands, and He is God’s hands. We are safe and complete in Him. From our perspective, He wants us to know that security on a personal / heart level. We have a relationship with a holy God. We are saved and secure in Him, but we need to realize that came at a high cost, the cost of paying for our sins. The fear and trembling come from realizing that if it weren’t for His grace we would be Hell-bound. As it is, we are bound for Heaven. We are secure in Him by the grace of God, who totally paid for our sins. He took our sins and gave us His totally amazing grace. Phew! I have written a book!

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