Philippians 2:12 (ESV)
Therefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, so now, not only as in my presence but much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling.
One of the paradoxes of our walk is that God’s gifts often require work on our part. After He delivered the Israelites from the Egyptians, the Lord led them to the Promised Land and told them He was going to "give" it to them. It wasn't long before they realized, however, that they were going to have to fight battles and overcome fortified cities in order to inhabit the land. God did promise that they would not have to fight the battles on their own, but even with this divine advantage the Israelites themselves would be required to destroy their enemies – they would still need to fight.
They might have preferred that God just give them the land, without having to do anything; to just walk into already built cities and houses without any conflict or opposition. But this was not God’s plan. He desired and expected their full cooperation, expecting them to take serious responsibility for the destiny He had prepared for them, and to grow in faith, thereby.
Our situation is similar. Though the gift of our salvation is free, the Lord requires us to work it out...with fear and trembling! [Phil. 2:12] We are not automatically or supernaturally filled with knowledge of the Bible, or faith to move mountains, or the power to pray without ceasing. Instead, we discover that we have to fight the fight of faith, taking serious responsibility for the destiny He has prepared for us.
Are you discouraged because the walk of a believer is more difficult than you imagined and the challenges greater than you expected? Don’t be! God is calling you to the simple responsibility of working out your faith and participating in your own destiny. You can be grateful that He doesn't treat you like a helpless infant who has no part in shaping his/her life, but as a growing adult who can rejoice in his/her participation with a loving and powerful Creator.
Dear Lord, we thank You for the Salvation You give us freely. Help us to work at learning all we can about You and serving You. In the Name of Jesus, Amen.