It is the student who must learn the lesson!
(J. R. Miller, "Strength and Beauty")
"Work out your salvation with fear and trembling" Philippians 2:12-13
People sometimes think that salvation imparts . . .
fine qualities of Christian character,
lovely traits of disposition, and
elements of spiritual beauty--
without any cost or effort to the believer himself!
Christ's followers are transformed--old things pass away, and all things become new. Those who believe in Him--are fashioned into His image. But these blessings do not come easily. The heavenly graces are not put into our life--as one might hang up lovely pictures on the walls to adorn a home! They must be wrought into our life in a sense, by our own hands. We must work out our own salvation, although it is God who works in us, both to will and to work.
For example, patience is not put into anyone's life--as one brings in a piece of new furniture. You cannot merely receive patience as a gift from God. Patience is a lesson to be learned--through long and watchful self-discipline. Christ is the teacher--but you are the student, and it is the student who must learn the lesson! Not even Christ will learn it for you--to spare you the effort. Nor can it be made an easy lesson for you. It costs to grow patient, and you must pay the price yourself!
The same is true of all the elements of a godly and worthy character.
We are always at school in this world. God is teaching us the things we need to learn. The lessons are not easy--sometimes they are very hard! But the hardest lessons are the best--for they bring out in us the finest qualities, if only we learn them well.
Those, therefore, who find themselves in what may seem adverse conditions, compelled to face hardship, endure opposition, and pass through struggle--should quietly accept the responsibility; and, trusting in Christ for guidance and strength, go firmly and courageously forward, conscious that they have now an opportunity to grow strong, and develop in themselves the qualities of worthy and noble character!