Believing Both Verses

Some people think Christianity is a passive faith. They believe Philippians 2:13, but not Philippians 2:12. Are you one of them? #BibleLoveNotes #Bible

Over forty years ago, as a new Christian, I remember two events that taught me about Philippians 2:12-13:

12 Continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling, 13 for it is God who works in you to will and to act in order to fulfill his good purpose.”

At a ladies' Bible study a woman explained that she would quit chain-smoking when/if God took away the desire, because only He could change her.(1)

She believed verse 13.

A few months later a Christian friend shared how hard it was to stop smoking, but with God's help, he persevered and did it.

He knew that God could change him, but he also understood that he had an obligation to resist sin (Romans 8:12).

This man believed both verse 12 and 13. 

Do you believe both verses?

Are you willing to make sacrifices in order to overcome sin in your life? (Romans 12:1-2). 
(1) Can God take away an ungodly desire without any effort on our part? Of course! He can and does at times. Does He promise to do this? No. 

For two practical ways to help in your battle against sin, see I Can't Change and Set Your Alarm.
Why not check out today's Bite Size Bible Study with full-text Scripture passages, helpful resources, and practical ideas for overcoming sin.
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Some people think Christianity is a passive faith. They believe Philippians 2:13, but not Philippians 2:12. Are you one of them? #BibleLoveNotes #Bible

Bible Love Notes


  1. The smoking analogy pertains to my actual situation. I prayed one day, 8 years ago, that I couldn't do it on my own, that He's seen me try and I just can't do it. I asked Him to help me quit. He not only lifted the desire for cigarettes from me, He placed it on my husband's and adult daughter's hearts to care for my 7-month-old baby so I could sleep as much as was needed to get through the few days of nicotine withdrawals. Yes, we should definitely put in effort, but sometimes our admitting our weaknesses is the best thing we can do, because He brings His strength.

    1. Thanks for sharing your story, Kristina. It's obvious that you were making efforts to quit smoking even though you were failing. And your heart-felt prayer was part of that effort.

      I agree with your insight about admitting our weakness. We really do need His strength for overcoming sin.

      God can do anything He decides is best.

      The point of Philippians 2:12-13 is that we cannot expect God to do make it easy for us. And you didn't do that.

      The situation with this woman happened 40 years ago, and I have not kept in touch with her. But the 4 years I knew her, she never quit smoking.

  2. We so often see verse 12 on its own. You are so right that we cannot separate them. We have to know that God wants to work through us, we cannot achieve salvation through our own works, but works he achieves through us, and that means surrendering our own will and desires to Him. It means relationship with Him, not thinking we can continue in the flesh and leave it to Him to step up when we cross the line. I think Kristina's prayer did exactly what we need to do, she was telling God she was willing to give up her desire to smoke and asking Him to help her do it. The lady you spoke of was not surrendering to God but trying to pass the buck, when we already know God has given us free will. I must remember this post whenever I hear someone trying to make out we need works to complete salvation, rather than works are the outward fruits of true faith.