Performance for Acceptance vs. Obedience because of Love...
Greetings, my Friends! Susie Larson here...
And to those visiting, I say welcome! I post every Wednesday and my sole purpose is to nourish your soul along the way. Each month I give away a Starbucks gift card to someone who posts on my blog. It's time to announce the winner for the month of May:
And the winner is...Kathleen Martin. Congratulations, Kathleen! Please email me your mailing address at: firstname.lastname@example.org and thanks everyone for sharing your thoughts and insights.
Yesterday on Live the Promise we had a great time talking with author and Pastor's wife, Becky Harling about her new book, Freedom From Performing: Grace in an Applause-Driven World. *Listen to yesterday's show, it was excellent! Yesterday's Show
Anyway, we talked about how often fear, insecurity, pride, and the need to people-please drive our decisions and stress out our lives. When we feel the need to perform for others, we miss out on an opportunity to see God do His best work in and through us.
The other day my husband offered to refill my coffee cup. As he walked away I thought about his motivation for doing so. I know why he did it. It's because he loves me. We've been married 26 years. He wasn't trying to impress me or gain special favor with me. He already has my heart. And I have his. I wouldn't have even noticed if he didn't offer to fill my cup. He just did.
That's the kind of relationship Christ wants with us.
If you think about it, to mix fearful or prideful striving with our efforts to please God, is sort of like (or maybe a lot like) mixing grace with the law; something the Bible tells us not to do. Read this great passage from the Message paraphrase:
What actually took place is this: I tried keeping rules and working my head off to please God, and it didn't work. So I quit being a "law man" so that I could be God's man. Christ's life showed me how, and enabled me to do it. I identified myself completely with him. Indeed, I have been crucified with Christ. My ego is no longer central. It is no longer important that I appear righteous before you or have your good opinion, and I am no longer driven to impress God. Christ lives in me (Galatians 2:20-21).
Oh, to know this Love. Because then, the Bible says, we will be filled to the fullness of God. As we meditate on the love of God, He takes our cup and fills it. To overflowing. He fills our cup so that we'll have much to give away to a world in need. And we give and serve and love because we've received this and more from Him. We're loved and we love.
Perfect love casts out fear. Knowing He is God is the remedy for striving. Stillness in His presence reminds us that we are His. Obeying and serving and giving because we already have His love brings great joy to His heart.
What's the name of that worship song: Lord, you have my heart. And I will search for Yours. Let me be a pleasing sacrifice...
May we stop striving to rescue our identity and start responding to God because He has already established it. Yes, Lord.
~Have a great week!