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Philippians 2:12 Therefore, my beloved, as you 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; (NKJV)

I heard someone today talk about “what’s the Christian life supposed to look like?”

He was of course referring to the need people have to find a simple list they can follow. Supposedly this makes being Christian easier. In truth, it makes being a Christian legalistic, dull and works oriented. “Well I did everything on the list” is the obvious end result. Consider what the Lord will say to people who claim to have “kept the list”:

Matthew 7:21-23 “Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven. Many will say to Me in that day, ‘Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name?’ And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!’ (NKJV)

“Look what I did” won’t get you into heaven. “Look what I did” will not give you the life you seek NOW. But doesn’t a Christian life consist of the things listed in these verse? Yes, and the same verse gives you the key: as long as it is God’s will. What does the Christian life look like? It looks like people doing God’s will.

2 Corinthians 12:9 And He said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore most gladly I will rather boast in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. (NKJV)

What does the Christian life look like? It is people like you and me who finally figure out that it is only when we “give up” and quit trusting in something other than God, that victory and “the Christian life” begin to appear. In our weakness, we find God. In our own strength, we move away from God.

Look in the mirror and you’ll see the Christian life as it is supposed to be: frail and sinful humans being transformed in to the likeness of Christ by means and circumstances as varied and complex as the universe itself. God doesn’t need a checklist, bullet-point, paint-by-numbers method of sanctifying us all. He is the Master Craftman who uses His tools how He knows best. He is the Master Artist who paints the canvas of our lives with the perfect brushes, colors and strokes.

He is the Master Vinedresser who prunes, plants, waters and harvests each of our days so that the most bounty will be realized.

There is no checklist for living the Christian life. There are no cookie cutters, templates or molds in which to pour our daily lives as we walk through our sancitification.

Philippians 2:12 Therefore, my beloved, as you 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; (NKJV)

That’s what Paul meant by “working out your salvation”. It doesn’t mean “work your way to heaven”. In the Bible, “born again” refers to the eternal washing away of sins. “Salvation” refers to the saving our lives from the curse of sin as we move one day closer to our appointed time with God which will mark the end of the sin curse. This is a delicate, but important understanding. It means that salvation starts right now and is the saving of our lives each day for the glory of God; the daily effort, contemplation and conviction of using that day to grow closer to Christ, to surrender more to God… to live the Christian life. Today, is the day of salvation. And tomorrow, and every day.

Go look in the mirror. There’s your answer to
“what does the Christian life look like?”

It’s the process each day of being transformed more into the likeness of Christ before we look in the mirror the next day. Enjoy it. Cherish it. Relax in it. Take joy in it. Embrace the freedom, creativity and uniqueness that is all your own as you “work out YOUR salvation”.

What does the Christian life look like? It looks like you getting up to go to work and letting God guide you. It looks like me as I type this message. It looks like you as you read it and apply it. It looks like me when I get done and go put the kids to bed. It looks like you when you see someone hurting and go help them. It looks like me when God convicts me of sin and I repent of it. It looks like you when you feel your emotions wanting to drag you into anxiety but you remember that you serve the God of the Universe and your worry melts away. It looks like me when I thank God for every single thing I have. It looks like you when you stop to realize that the person hurting you is in desparate need of a Savior.

It looks like me. It looks like you. That’s what the Christian life looks like. Stop searching for something else or thinking others know it, but you don’t. The Christian life looks like your struggles, your doubts, your study, your questions, your changes, your convictions, your mistakes, your victories, your experience.

If you want to see what the Christian life looks like, Christian… look in the mirror and you’ll find the answer.

Lord God, help us to work out our salvation each day. Help us Lord to look more like Christ Jesus with each passing day. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

James 1:22 – But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves. (NKJV)
  1. What is the most obvious Bible truth you have learned today?
  2. What change in your life needs to be made concerning this truth?
  3. What specific thing will you do today to begin that change?