The Break

 

Ever have a friend who was not exactly a friend?  I remember as a boy that I had a friend who seemed to take pleasure in hitting me or stealing my lunch or some other mean thing.  Yet, I stayed with him because he was my friend, right?  Why?  Because I knew him and we were from the same town and we grew up with each other.  We actually did a lot of things together from junior high through college.  But, I have to admit, when we finally separated, I was relieved.  I suppose I missed him, but not much.  I don’t think he was really a friend.

Performance spirituality is so familiar to us that it is like a long-time friend.  The idea that I have to work hard to please God, to get Him to love me and accept me, is a mean idea.  It never satisfies.  It never gives what it promises.  It hurts.  But I accepted it because it was what I knew.  We were together in church, in the family, in the world.  Performance spirituality, no matter how disappointing it was as a teaching, was an old friend.

Then I found grace.  I learned that God already loved me, long before I could do anything for Him.  I learned that my greatest efforts for Him were really me trying to measure up and He didn’t need them.  I realized that performance spirituality, which was cruel and fickle, could never lead me to what Jesus offered me just because He loved me.

But it took a long time to forget my old friend.  The words of performance, of measuring up, were the first to spring to my thoughts.  I had to think about grace, but performance seemed to come naturally.  Jesus called me to conform my thinking to His, to accept His acceptance of me, and to trust Him.  I have had to learn a new way of speaking and responding and hoping.

When did the break happen?  Actually the break that came between performance spirituality and me happened when I first understood what Jesus had done for me.  As I learned more, the break became wider.  There is a progress in this, but the break does grow.  Sometimes I slip and act as though my old friend is still in charge, but then I remember and I can relax.  Jesus is in charge now.  My performance is not the focus.

The truth I know today is that performance was never really my friend.  And when I think about it, I really don’t miss it.

2 Comments

Filed under grace, Legalism, Relationship

2 responses to “The Break

  1. Frances

    So, my thoughts on your post….

    I love it by yhe way!
    I just have to try to express something on the next step (or levwl) of faith. (I Believe).

    Ok yes Jesus paid the price on the cross for our sins so tjat we might be saved …. Yes, we are saved by grace through faith.

    However, the Bible makes it clear that we have a reaponsibilry to our actions as believers and as chikdren of God.

    Our attirudes, the way we treat our neighbor, etc…

    Not tjat thise changes will dave us, only His blood saves us.

    But we ate all called for His purpose. We ate all parts on the body of Christ.

    Each part has a diffetent function. The more we strive to “run our race” as Paul says, the higher our walk with Jeaus, no one has ARRIVED at Jeaus status, but certainly Jesus had more faith and Grace than anyone, and even He did works.

    Works ate not for salvation of our soul, but are fruits if the Spirit.

    If that boy you grew up with had some “works” in him he would jave treated you better.

    Tjanks for sharing and letting ne share too! 🙂

    • Finallyfree

      Francis, I agree with you …….if you change the word “responsibility” to “loving friendship with Jesus” and the word “works” to “outpouring of love from Jesus”.

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