When I was young, I remember going to summer camps and having a great time. The dilemma I had being an introvert was that it took me a while to warm up to the idea of being away from my parents and being in a totally new environment. As the week went on, I warmed up the the idea and I began to participate in the activities and have a good time. Thanks to the counselors doing their jobs and the quality of camp, I have fond memories of those summer weeks. As I got older I realized the quicker I started the participation, the more I enjoyed the experience. Whether that was camp, school, youth group, jobs and almost every area of life.
After having the conversation with a few people, I began to realize we have a choice when it comes to abiding in Christ and experiencing the abundant life. A lot of times we feel as though we don't have what it takes to be a good Christian or the list of things to do in order to be one, is daunting. With that mindset a lot of Christians miss the freedom in the moment by moment that God has given to us. Active participation begins with the subtle shift in thinking that starts with Identity. When I know who I am and whose I am I can begin to live in a "from" mindset instead of a "for" mindset. If I'm in Christ and Christ is in me, I now have full acceptance "from" God. When His life has become my life I can now love from that life living in me. Religion tells us the opposite that in order to get God's acceptance, we have to work "for" it. In order to be a good Christian we have to work "for"it. "Do this, don't do that". Many have tried and many have failed to work "for" God's acceptance and that usually ends in Christian burnout. Others continue to work "for" God's acceptance and their pride tells them they can do it.
Active participation in the life of Christ within us starts at a point of dependence. I couldn't even save myself, what makes me think I can save myself daily. This is what Paul's argument was toward the Galatians. "Who has bewitched you". Some one had tricked them into thinking they could complete the work God had begun. That is a "for" mentality. The difference is subtle but what grace tells us is that it began in faith and it is carried to completion by faith. It is God who does the saving once and for all. To rest in this glorious truth and the "from" mentality allows me live daily in dependence on God.
The reason I say that it is active participation is it is the same as the summer camp. I can choose to go through my life going through the motions or blaming my past, others, or circumstance for my lack of living. Or I can choose to abide each moment. That takes activity just like camp takes activity. I have to be willing to trust those in charge that they have the best for me. In the same way when I rest in who I am and whose I am, which frees me to trust that because I'm working "from" God's acceptance each day and circumstance is orchestrated to prove just that. As I grow and rest, I become more active in the participation in the Life of Christ with in me.
To be continued...