Therefore, my beloved, just as you have always obeyed me, not only in my presence, but much more now in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling; for it is God who is at work in you, enabling you both to will and to work for his good pleasure.
As a parent of teenage children I am constantly aware of my hope that all I have taught them in terms of manners and behaviour will stay with them throughout their life. The litmus test will be once they (eventually) leave home and begin their own lives without us around to check up on them. Once they have gone, it is up to them to follow the appropriate rules, while making their way in the world.
We are living out our faith in the physical absence of Christ, but in the presence of an all-seeing God. As with a child under the shadow of parental influence, yet without their physical presence, we can all too easily be tempted to “do our own thing”. Temptations are all around us, calling to us, telling us, “it’s ok”, or “no-one will know” or “nobody’s looking”. Sometimes we are overwhelmed and give in, other times, when we are stronger, we resist.
But in either scenario, we are not to be afraid. God is not out to punish us for sport but there to strengthen us in the path of doing the right thing. We will know when we step out of line – it is up to us what we do about it.
So, let us allow God to be at work in us, in all we do, that we might work for, and serve Him, in our lives.
Lord God, may we so live that you are at work in us. Strengthen us to face the temptations of the world and guide us on how to resist them. May we remember your teachings and walk in your footsteps every day of our lives. Amen.
The Rev’d Ruth Watson, Minister, Patricroft and Worsley Road URCs in Salford