Monday: The Power to Choose

Change comes at the point of choice. Reformation occurs as we chose to yield to the convicting power of the Holy Spirit and surrender our will to God’s will.

Image © Rolf Jansson from

Image © Rolf Jansson from

God will never force or manipulate our will. He respects our freedom. His Spirit impresses our minds, convicts our hearts, and prompts us to do right, but the choice to respond to the Holy Spirit’s appeals is, always and only, our own.

Read Philippians 2:12-14. How does this passage show the necessity of cooperating with God in our growth in grace? What does Paul mean by “work out your own salvation”? What does he mean by “it is God who works in you”?

It is not possible for us to work out what God has not already worked in. As He works in us through His supernatural power, we are able to make the choices to “work out” through our lives the grace and strength that He has worked into our lives.

“As finite, sinful man works out his own salvation with fear and trembling, it is God who works in him, to will and to do of His own good pleasure. But God will not work without the co-operation of man. He must exercise his powers to the very utmost; he must place himself as an apt, willing student in the school of Christ; and as he accepts the grace that is freely offered to him, the presence of Christ in the thought and in the heart will give him decision of purpose to lay aside every weight of sin, that the heart may be filled with all the fullness of God, and of his love.”-Ellen G. White, Fundamentals of Christian Education, p. 134.

Reformation occurs as we cooperate with God by choosing to surrender to Him anything that the Holy Spirit points out as not being in harmony with His will. Unless we make those choices (sometimes very painful ones, too), then positive, spiritual change will not occur.

God will not rip some selfish thought out of our minds. He will not mysteriously snatch away unhealthful habits or secret indulgences. He convicts us of sin. He convinces us of right, but we must choose. Once we do, He empowers our choices, but it is we ourselves who have to daily, even moment by moment, make those choices.

What does cooperating with God in the working out of our salvation mean? What doesn’t it mean? When was the last time that you felt deeply convicted over something and, through God’s grace, overcame, no matter how difficult the struggle?



Monday: The Power to Choose — 17 Comments

  1. Today we lacking in that part: to do for our salvation all we can. Cheap mercy is comonly akcepted. To do for salvation is to stand up and be in Christs light. God please help me to do for my salvation.

    • Hi Goran,
      I understand where you are coming from but I think that the way you have written sounds as though we have to earn our salvation - at least to an Australian like me who thinks upside down. (grin) What I think we lack is the vision to respond to our salvation. it is a bit like receiving a Ferrari sports car and choosing to keep it in the garage and polish the chrome a bit now and then. What a waste of potential.

      Likewise salvation without response is not realizing its full potential and we do need the Holy Spirit to give us a vision of how we can creatively respond. Salvation without response is dead.

      • I agree with you Maurice,Salvation is a free gift from God so it is for us to choose to accept it as the Holy Spirit prompts us.

      • I agree with Maurice whole heartedly. Salvation is a gift given daily to us. To me it means the opportunity to benefit from what God is actually offering us. God has already created the path that we should travel. It is up to us to choose wisely. Along that path, God has also given us the things necessary to do his will and as Maurice quoted, having a Ferrari in your garage and not driving it; makes it pointless to own such a beautiful car. Not taking grasp of the divine salvation offered to us by God is detrimental to us. We cant expect God to come in and change us, We also have to be willing to accept the change God is willing to do in our lives to grow.

    • We know that salvation is free, however, we do not want to feel that we can abuse it by doing whatever we want. Salvation is there for us only if we want it. WE have choices.

      • Exactly Claudette. Jesus saves us from sin. Matthew 1:21. To say we can continue in sin while God's grace has saved us from sin makes no sense. Romans 1:5 tells us grace gives us obedience and not a license to sin. In Ephesians 2:1-10 we see grace saves us from the power of sin and gives us good works. In Titus 2:11-12 we see grace gives us the power to live like God in the present world.

      • An illustration:

        If we did "whatever we want to" in response to Christ's gift of salvation, we would be like a man who was rescued from a deep manure pit and jumped right back into it because his rescuer did not demand payment.

  2. This is the conflict with self we must overcome but while your going through it brethern remember he is able to keep you from falling-'whatever the temptation'.

  3. The lesson asks what it means to work out our salvation. I believe that it means that I must daily (sometimes more often) surrender my will to that of Jesus. It means that I must respond to Jesus' desire to come into my heart and life and have a relationship with Him.

  4. That is the power of choice. Jesus words are behold, i stand at the door and knock: if any man hears my voice, and open the door, i will come in to him, and will sup with him and he with me. day in and day out Jesus opens his arms to receive us but we are stiff-necked people. We seems to be indifferent to the prompting of the holy spirit like king Agrippa. Let us therefore surrender, cooperate and submit to God's will because He will not surreptitiously take any unhealthy behaviors from us without our submission. He will convicts you of the sin and you have to surrender. It is like you are sick and a doctor wants to help you but you the sick person seems to be indifferent, at the end of the day who suffers?

  5. God gives us everything. I benefit everyday of His gifts and grace. Still, one of His gifts is the freedom to choose. He wants a real relationship with me where we both choose each other. He has chosen me and I choose Him. The choices are there everyday. I choose to open my heart, I choose to accept what He wants and to follow the way that He points out for me. Meanwhile when I choose Him, His will and His way, He gives me everything I need to follow and do what pleases Him. Whatever He wants for me to do is for my best good, so I can trust and continue walking with Him as He gives me strength.

  6. [Moderator's Note: Please use full names when commenting. Thank you.]

    He has given us a choice. He is allowing us free will. It tells me my salvation is within that choice. And through His grace, mercy, & the Holy Spirit he will lead and be with me. Thank You for being my Father!

  7. Christian life is all about choices its up to us human to stumble and fall above all rise on his footsteps by working out salvation christ died for us,i pray daily to the LORD to remain focused in him

  8. From what I understand, we are to get involved in our salvation, yes it is a gift, without Christ we can't do any thing. John 15:4. Which is true. Choose is like believe, unless we act upon that belief or choice, salvation is beyond our grasp. James says that we must be doers of the word not just hearers. James 1:19,20,21,22,23,24,25. Jesus said which James was expanding upon, DO the will of my Father which is in heaven. Matthew 7:21. Jesus also said, my mother and my brothers and sisters are those who hear my word, and DO it. Luke 8:21. God will not work in man or woman with out our co-operation. To be doers of the word we must get physically as well as mentally involved. We are married to Christ. What spouse would stick with his or her spouse if all he or she did was to lay on the recliner all day chanting I believe, I chose, I hear you? Yes God likes to hear our commitment, but He also likes to see some action, sharing, obeying, doing the will of the Father. Don't just stand, sit, or lay there, do something.

  9. I note, that most people who read the text only focus on what it says about working out your salvation.
    But the most important part of the text follows. " It is God that workers in you" God is doing the work, it is him that is working out your salvation in you with fear and trembling. You who are born in sin can"t do any thing to help your self. it is God that leads you to repentance
    Therefore, just say Lord I surrender.all to you, take me and make me what thou will have me to be and leave it up to the Holy Spirit.

    • Yes, Cecil, thank you for pointing that out.

      There's nothing we can "work out" that He doesn't first "work in." The lesson author is right in focusing on the role of choice. We must choose to allow God to work in us, and we do that by surrendering our plans to Him daily.


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