Performance Spirituality

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.

3 Comments

Filed under grace, Legalism, Relationship

3 responses to “Performance Spirituality

  1. Melody

    This blog has helped me immensely. I am the daughter of two “Narcissistic” ministry parents. I am 58 years old and have finally seen that the only way to be able to keep my sanity was to go “No Contact.” This of course was met with a plethora of Bible verses and offering plates full of guilt and condemnation. I have forgiven, but have realized that reconciliation may only come in eternity. Thank you for your edifying blog. It is has given me added hope.

  2. Fellow Survivor

    This small sentence says it all and I would like to focus on this point;

    “He has initiated the relationship, made it possible, and has committed Himself to keep it secure.”

    I wasn’t looking for Jesus when I was 13 he just kind of showed up and has been with me ever sense. The horrible injustice I was suffering through and the abuse I guess just finally became to much for him to see me endure. When I met the x I prayed everyday and read the bible all the time. After years of the nonsense I quite praying or reading the bible. So maybe this soul separating I am going through is about me returning to Him. When the first big rage attack happened 7 years ago the first thing I did was read Job. That was the first time I had picked up the Bible in 5 years. My point being that “He has committed Himself to keep it secure” I do not like it, nor understand it, but I just have to trust that what is happening to me is for his purposes. I just don’t understand it right now.

  3. Singing Eagle

    Thank you so much for sharing your thoughts! What you said helped drive home the truth of this message. I would have to say my belief structure became a stronghold of performance due to abuse in various forms and wondered why God did not “perform” back when I thought I did a good job for Him. This message is exactly in alignment with what God is working on me now. It’s work in progress to believe that God is that good where His love and faithfulness is not based on our performance but ONLY on HIS nature and character. It kind of puts things in perspective in that if you think about it, we think so small of God when we put Him in a position of thinking we can manipulate Him the way the world does (or did) us. What a wonderful revelation to know He is not shaken or changed by our failures, setbacks or flaws of human nature. It does make me want to do better simply because of His sweet nature. But what’s even better is that we don’t do it on our own. He tells us “Come to Me!!” He’s the One who equips and enables us to DO and not perform in order to receive from Him. He’s given it all to us already! It’s those times when things don’t seem to be going well for us when we start to go back to the old pattern of thinking of wondering what we did wrong to deserve what’s happening. This is where we can learn to really stand on the word, “Lean not to your own understanding…..” and re-develop our ability to trust again when all attempts to trust in the past was met with abuse. I come out of agreement with the spirit of performance orientation and allow in the Holy Spirit of truth to direct my path. Learning we can trust to simply start at being who God made us to be (imperfections and all), stop the performance and move forward “from glory to glory” by letting God be God in and through us and change us to bring Honor and Glory to Himself!!

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