Philippians 2:12-13 (NASB) So then, my beloved, just as you have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your salvation with fear and trembling; for it is God who is at work in you, both to will and to work for His good pleasure.
It’s easy to read the above verses and get caught up with the word “work” in the beginning and miss the incredible freedom at the end.
I’ve lived in the “work” part for far too long and just about missed the essence of the Christian life.
It started before I truly believed. Until I was 21 years old, growing up in a socially Christian family, I thought I was going to heaven because I “believed” in Jesus and thought my good “works” outweighed my bad. In other words, I hadn’t killed anybody and performed some good deeds like walking little old ladies across the street. In my uninformed mind, this made me good enough for heaven.
Back then, my idea of being “born again,” was associated with being judgmental and living a life of rules which choked out all joy. I had no desire to live like that.
Just like everyone else, I was searching for joy in the world around me. I had no concept that the hole in my soul was eternal and could only be filled with God himself. A trip to jail brought me to my senses and turned my attention to my creator. Eventually I surrendered my life to my Lord Jesus Christ.
This was a marvelous day, but it took me years to realize the Christian life is not just something else to “work” at. Living as a Christian is so different than anything else I’d ever experienced.
Over time, and I must admit, I’m still learning it, the true nature of living the Christian life began to become clear. Christianity is not primarily about rules, it’s about a relationship with Christ. He did the work. Ours is to respond to what’s he’s already done.
Our life is not an arduous march to a set of rules. It’s more like a dance; us responding to Christ our partner as he leads us in a dynamic relationship.
This changes everything.
“for it is God who is at work in you, both to will and to work for His good pleasure.
Spiritually, we’ve died and Christ, by his Holy Spirit, has taken up residence in our lives. The “work” we now do is a work of dependence, yielding to Christ as he produces the fruit of his Spirit in our lives.
We don’t march around like robotic soldiers to a sheet of rules. We dance with God as he leads us through difficulties as his life is formed in us.
Prayer: Most gracious, heavenly Father. I’m sorry I spent much of my life totally misunderstanding the way you interact with me as your son. You’ve not left me alone to fend for myself. You’re involved in every dance step of my life and want me to enjoy being with you through every circumstance. Draw me ever closer to you as we dance together here. I praise you that one day, I’ll see you face to face.
 From a conference at the Cove by Pete Briscoe about Galatians 2:20
 Philippians 2:13
 Galatians 2:20
 John 15:1-12
 John 15:5