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. For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure. -Philippians 2:12, 13 (KJV)
Over the years I have ministered to many people who were wandering their way through life. Such wandering can be discouraging and exhausting. Without clear direction and purpose in life we can easily feel we are spinning our wheels, yet getting nowhere. The Word of God issues a challenge to work out our own salvation with fear and trembling. Once we come to faith in Jesus Christ we are then to move forward in humility seeking God’s will every day. We are all responsible for trusting Jesus Christ on an individual basis. Furthermore, we all must ultimately figure out for ourselves our place in the world and what the Lord is calling us to accomplish.
The good news is we do not have to go at this alone. The Lord will help, empower, and inspire us to serve Him and live life to the fullest. We have the Holy Spirit to help us, and we also have the Body of Christ, the church, as a means of support and encouragement as we determine God’s leading. God is perfectly willing to lead and work in our lives and provide us with purpose and direction. However, we must by faith rise up and submit to His leading. The process will not happen overnight; rather it is a lifelong journey of seeking the Lord and walking with Him each day.
I am reminded of this when I take our dog, Ada, for a walk. To say she gets excited when she sees the leash is an understatement; she becomes frantic in her desire to go outside. She literally jumps in the air, twirls around the room, and if I don’t watch her she will grab the leash in her mouth and try to run away with it. Sadly, she fails to comprehend her frenzied enthusiasm only hinders the entire process. We too can easily get ahead of God’s will for our lives. In our excitement to rush forward we can pull against the Holy Spirit, launch out in directions we ought not to go, and strain against the gentle leading of our loving Lord.
God will work in us according to His will and purpose for our lives. Ours is to patiently seek Him through prayer, staying in the Word, and humbling ourselves before Him. Step back, take a deep breath, and seek the Lord. He is willing to show us the way.