In nearly every part of life, performance is vitally important. In school, in sports, at work—performance is what it’s all about. When we don’t perform well, we wish our acceptance was based on something else. Yet, we accept the judgment and rejection that comes with poor performance. We understand the system and yield to its values. Football players, business employees, factory workers, medical personnel, and so many more, expect to be judged and accepted on performance.
Then, when we consider our spiritual life, we are so used to the performance system that we assume it must be the same thing. When the Law is added to the church’s message, we get the idea that we must measure up or we will not remain part of the church. Manipulative churches and teachers add their own items to the Law’s list (and take away ones they don’t like) in order to control their people. The sad thing is that it seems so normal, so natural, that we don’t question whether it is right. Performance spirituality is just the way the system works.
But here’s the good news: your spiritual life is not based on your performance; it is based on your relationship with Jesus! He loves you and has called you to Himself. He has offered the only sacrifice necessary and sufficient for your reconciliation with God. He is Himself your eternal life. He has initiated the relationship, made it possible, and has committed Himself to keep it secure.
You can’t perform well enough to be acceptable to Him. You can only be acceptable to Him because of His love. This isn’t a football team or any kind of business. Your performance is not the measuring tool for determining your acceptance. He has already decided to accept you. The question is whether you can accept that you are accepted.
When the accuser comes to challenge your faith and reminds you of your sin or your lack of performance, do you crumble in shame and feel unacceptable? Do you agree with him that God should kick you out of His family? Do you worry whether God has already rejected you? Well, you don’t have to have these feelings. Jesus wants you to know that you are acceptable and accepted, just because of His love. He won’t reject you if you fail or if your performance is less than best. That’s the world’s way, not His. He has chosen to cover your sin with His own blood.
I am convinced that the primary compromise of the church has been to look at spirituality through the grid of performance. The people are discouraged, defeated, and depressed—because they know they can never measure up to the ever-changing standards that are placed on them. Their work will never be enough and their sin will always be too much. We tell people about Jesus and His love and then force them under the bondage of performance and take away their joy and peace.
This ministry, for the past nine years, has helped hundreds, perhaps thousands, of people who have felt trapped under the burdens of performance spirituality. Our goal for the future is to reach even more with the truly Good News of the gospel. The grace of God in the person and work of Jesus is enough.