Posts Tagged ‘performance’

Another thing we hear often is “That’s not enough.” Or “You need to do more.” Rest assured, it’s not God saying that to you. His feelings for you are contingent on nothing. His love for you can’t be earned or increased and the same goes for His liking you. It’s true that we are faced with decisions each and everyday that are pleasing to God or displeasing to Him. But the reason He cares what we do is not for His benefit but ours. Because of how He feels for us He always wants what’s best and when we make choices that are harmful to others, or ourselves He is grieved for us not disappointed because we harmed Him or because He expected better.

We’ve touched on things you can be certain God is saying to you over the last few days. Now let’s explore some things you can be sure God is never saying. The world comes at you with overwhelming evidence that you’re unloved, alone, not performing up to expectations and any number of other lies that keep you from being who God created you to be. Not only do you have to deal with what comes at you from outside, there’s also a persistent monologue inside your own mind that too often supports the lies. It’s vital that we recognize all of this for what it is.

Caring too much about the opinions of others can be another diversion from The Lord. This one’s very closely related to fear as well as performance. I know I’m trying to help you move into a more intimate relationship with the God who loves you so very much and to this point I hope we’ve been removing barriers. But this one has the potential of making you say, “Okay, that’s close enough”.

Sometimes God is going to want to do something really crazy with you. Not crazy like “for no reason” but crazy in the eyes of the world around us. You see we can’t get close to Him without changing and the world hates change. We like things all tied up a pretty package that we can predict, understand and maybe even control. That’s not the way of God, He is completely unique and our relationship with Him must be unique too. If His love for us is not one of a kind then it’s not enough, it would fall short of filling the need we each have to be special. So don’t be afraid of what others think. Draw as close to Him as you can, become so familiar with His voice that there is no question and then whatever He says, do it. It may look wacky to those around you but I promise it is the most wonderful, free and fulfilling life you could ever dream of. In fact it’s the one you’ve been wanting.

One of the more subtle distractions in our lives is performance, most especially religious performance. Somehow “with God” gets interpreted as “for God” and we run off ahead doing everything we can for Him. Spoiler alert: God doesn’t need us to do for Him. With Him everything is possible, nothing too small, nothing too big. For Him leads to futility and burden, for Him can never be enough but with Him is more than we could ever imagine.

There’s a scene in the movie City Slickers where the grizzled cowboy Curly tells Mitch, the soft city guy in the middle of a mid-life crisis that “The secret of life is… just one thing”. Jesus says pretty much the same thing in Luke’s Gospel, “Only one thing is needed…” He’s answering Martha as she complains that Mary is not serving. The “one thing” Mary’s discovered is that there is nothing better than being in the presence of the Lord. The same is true for us today. We have the same choice Mary did. Are we going to sit at His feet and listen or busy ourselves with the lesser things?

I recently heard a phenomenal teaching on grace from Mike Harland. He concluded the message with a story about his son marching in the high school band for the state championship in Texas some years ago. Mike and his family were sitting up at the top of the stands near the judge’s area taking in the event. The contrast between the stern faced judges, critiquing each note and step looking for every flaw, and Mike the proud dad, jumping up and down in his seat waving his coat over his head with whoops and hollers, was significant. Mike ended the story by telling us that we get to choose which spot God is going to take in our lives. Are we going to live life in performance mode, trying to be perfect under our own power and putting God in the judge’s seat? Or are we going to walk through life hand in hand with our loving Father while He cheers us on at every turn? Once again, our choice.

The characteristic of immutability points out that God does not change. He is the same yesterday, today and forever. This applies to every aspect of who He is and is the basis for the security and peace that we can live in when we know that His love for us doesn’t change based on either His mood or our performance. This means that He is never disappointed in us, we don’t let Him down, and He’s not embarrassed by us. These emotions or moods are the results of unmet expectations and God doesn’t operate that way.

From there God let us know what we would be experiencing as a result of our choice to try it without Him. Just like He told Adam and Eve, men still look for their worth in what and how they do, while women even today seek their love and approval from men.

God doesn’t put more or less value on the quality of the things we try to do for Him. God’s definition of success is not the same as ours. Jesus is our example; draw close, listen well, then do. That will be successful.

God is not hovering overhead waiting for us to jump through visible or invisible hoops so He can reward us for doing a good job. When we approach Him from this point of view the things we do will be done without power and for the wrong reason.