What a rich passage this is! Here are some of my thoughts about it:
Work out your salvation with fear and trembling for it is God (!!!) who works in you… [emphasis mine]. How many of us take our salvation entirely too casually? To think of salvation as it is described here—God working in us—WOW!
Reflect on that a moment. The God of infinite power and might and wisdom at work in us. What a privilege. What a responsibility. What an opportunity. Not the kind of thing to be approached lightly.
I like how the message translates vs 12b: Better yet, redouble your efforts. Be energetic in your life of salvation, reverent and sensitive before God. That’s the kind of intentional, intensive response God at work in us calls us to make.
Do everything without complaining or arguing…children of God…[who] shine like the stars in the universe. We live in such negative times. But then, maybe it has always been easier to be negative than to be positive; to complain about things rather than do our part in making them right. What would it take for us to be exceedingly positive today?
I love the image of shining like the stars in the heavens. It’s a question worth asking one self. Just how brightly do I shine, really? What would it take for my light to be brighter—to go super nova?
Finally, there is the example of Timothy and Epaprhoditus. They are not distinguished by anything so much as their faithful SERVICE. For the Christian, there is no higher calling. And the call here quite clearly is not just to serve occasionally as it fits our schedules, but as a way of life.