Written by Catie George
As someone who puts 110% effort into everything she does, I shouldn’t have been so surprised when I became a Christian that I was quickly involved in hours of studying the bible, communing with my brothers and sisters in Christ, and going to church. However, what my faith became wasn’t what I expected before I became a Christian, as an outsider looking in.
I thought that once I became a Christian, I would be able to take Sundays off to sleep, or listen to a message in church once a week and not have to do anything else. But it quickly became clear to me that my view of faith as a non-Christian versus what my faith actually was as a Christian were very different things.
One of my favorite messages that I’ve ever heard was that faith is not based on works, but that faith takes work. I think this put into words what I was trying to rationalize in my mind.
I had grown up hearing that God’s idea of me isn’t based on how many bible studies I attend in a week, or how many volunteer hours I rack up. However, I had misunderstood this message as meaning that those things didn’t need to be done at all. I believed that I could completely forgo studying the word and serving God’s community.
I didn’t expect that as a Christian, I would not only feel deeply motivated to do those things on my own accord, but also gladly put in the work because doing those things are a way for me to express my gratefulness for my salvation.
Philippians 2:12 says “Therefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, so now, not only in my presence but much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling.”
“Working out our own salvation” doesn’t mean doing things to gain God’s love. It means that because God already loves us, we do things as an expression of gratitude for that love.
In a moment of distance, I was looking back at all the religious things that I was involved in this year. I was surprised to find, upon reflection, that I didn’t approach all of these events and committees like I did my other work. I was surprised to realize that because I was a new creation in Christ, that relief and new life spurred me on to learn more about God through studying His word and learning from His other children, as well as helping lead others to Him. All of this didn’t feel like work – it feels like excitedly learning more about a subject that I am really passionate about, because that’s what it is.
I hope that if you are reading this, your faith doesn’t feel like work, but rather like getting to know the God who created you and who loves you.