Philippians 2:12-13 Continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who works in you to will and to act according to his good purpose.
I have preached on this so many times it’s hard not to do so again! The point of these two verses is that God does the “heavy lifting” in our lives, but that doesn’t mean we don’t play a part. The “fear and trembling” here means that we realize that God is perfectly holy and all-powerful, so relating to Him is never just playing games. We are to be active in seeking God’s will and doing it as we know it. It is very true that God gives us the desire to do so, but we are never to stop with feelings, but rather follow through. God indeed enables us to do exactly that, but we have to accept the strength of will and body that He offers us. It is always sad to see someone who knows what God wants them to do but they can’t believe that He will enable them to carry through and do it. Sometimes that means they need further training from God, so we aren’t to give up on people on the basis of timing, but we all need the faith to trust that “Where God guides, He provides,” as someone has said, in every area: material, physical, emotional, and spiritual.
I have experienced this more times than I could count, but that doesn’t mean I don’t still get anxious at times. That should give me empathy for those to whom I minister, many of whom have great difficulty in this area. It is a joy to watch God do things through me, and I desire that joy for everyone in this church. However, I can’t force them to accept it! I am to remember that we have an enemy who is always out to steal, kill, and destroy, (John 10:10) so I am to operate in humility and prayer, but at the same time with boldness. God has called and commissioned me as a shepherd to His flock, so I can be assured that He will enable me to do everything called for. Sometimes those tasks catch me by surprise, and sometimes they seem daunting indeed, but God will always follow through, and He will even use me in the process.
Father, thank You for all the experiences of this past week, including the faith-training of not knowing if we would make our connection in Osaka last night. Thank You that we did make it, and that our baggage even made it on the plane to Nagasaki. Thank You for the many people to whom we were able to minister, both those expected and unexpected. I pray that everything You did through us would be sealed by Your Spirit in the hearts of those for whom it was done, so that they would be brought into closer fellowship with You, for their blessing and Your glory. Thank You. Praise God!