Philippians 2:12 Wherefore, my beloved, as ye 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. 13 For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure.
This passage of scripture teaches us the all-important lesson of cooperation with God, especially in the area of our salvation. Whatever good the human agent accomplishes is made possible because of God, however, when it comes to the saving of our souls, it is very necessary that we work in harmony with God, so that the grace and strength He has provided can be applied in practical ways to our hearts.
We work out our own salvation through the freedom of choice, in that we choose to accept God's gracious gift of Christ and His righteousness, which is imputed and imparted to us on a daily basis. Let's take for example, if a Christian is tempted to do wrong by cheating on his or her spouse, they must then deliberately choose to do the right thing, and if they do, then the omnipotent power of the Holy Ghost is engaged in their behalf to implement the right choice thus made.
However, there are some other instructions that are given in the Bible that we must follow in order to facilitate a consistently victorious life, one of which is avoiding as far as possible, placing ourselves on satan's enchanted ground, without being bidden by God to do so. Whenever we deliberately expose ourselves to the enticements of the devil, the sin of presuming upon God's grace for deliverance is committed, and we endanger ourselves unnecessarily by tempting satan to tempt us.
For instance, if one is struggling with the habit of cigarette smoking, that person should do all he can to avoid places like bars, where the air is filled with smoke, or if an individual is battling the sin of adultery, he should stay as far away as possible from the various nude beaches in Florida, and places like Hooters, where the the women who serve are scantily clad.
This is the error that was made by the Hebrews when Balaam invited them to visit the scene of the Moabitish worship services, which came complete with both male and female prostitutes. After the Israelites had consented to his enticements, they then fell an easy prey to the assaults of the devil, for their once dormant, evil propensities were fanned into life by beholding the lewdness and revelry that characterized such events. Let's read:
Numbers 25:1 And Israel abode in Shittim, and the people began to commit whoredom with the daughters of Moab. 2 And they called the people unto the sacrifices of their gods: and the people did eat, and bowed down to their gods.
In our day there are many more and varied enticements that beckon the Christian to depart from the straight and narrow path. Many evils lie at our very fingertips, and therefore constant vigilance and grace is needed so that we do not succumb to the devices of the enemy. We should therefore avoid as far as possible, seeing, hearing, tasting, or touching that which will invoke evil thoughts and desires, for this is the instruction given in the Bible, to facilitate cooperation with God.
We therefore end with a passage of scripture which reminds us of our sacred duty to cooperate with God by choosing to do right, and by also avoiding the appearance of evil wherever we can, for if we do, the power of God is more than able to keep us from falling into the many sins of this degenerate age. Let's read:
1st Peter 5:8 Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour: 9 Whom resist stedfast in the faith, knowing that the same afflictions are accomplished in your brethren that are in the world.
May we live victoriously as the Holy Spirit strengthens us day by day. "Good night" and God bless!