This is part 3 of a series of posts I will be sending out every Friday, relevant to the theme of this year’s ENGAGE Family Discipleship & Home Education Conference. The posts will be short, to the point, and practical – designed to help you/your family in preparation for the conference (you will still benefit if you’re not coming to the conference!). Here goes with the third post…
Living a Grace-Paced Life in a Crazy-Paced World…”The Performance Trap”.
1 John 5:3 (NKJV) 3 For this is the love of God, that we keep His commandments. And His commandments are not burdensome.
In the last post, we talked about the difference between intention (actually carrying out that which God has called us to do), and intentions (desires that never turn into actions). We also considered the difference prayerful evaluation makes, in knowing what we should prioritise, so that we can focus on the right things, and not just “do stuff for the Lord”.
What I am about to say next may seem like an absolute contradiction to everything we have covered so far – but please bear with me.
For some of you reading this, the thing you need most, in order to make progress in that which God has called you to do and be, is to……wait for it…..not do anything!
That’s right – not do anything. Now when I say this, please don’t use this as an excuse to neglect your daily responsibilities or completely “drop the ball” in an area of your life. The context to which I am referring is that of “intentions” that are hovering around in your head, and haunting you by their “undone-ness”. This might be the intention to lead family devotions with your wife and children, the intention to spend more time in prayer as a busy mother, the intention to step things up in the discipleship of your children etc.
Whatever those things are, that you know should be given your time, and attention – here’s something really important to acknowledge. Doing or not doing those things makes absolutely no difference whatsoever, to your position before God. The acceptance, and security you have in your relationship with God was secured (past tense) by grace – not by anything you did, or didn’t do.
So……back to my original statement: The thing you need most, in order to make progress in that which God has called you to do and be, is to not do anything. That is, not do anything…….until…..you have it firmly settled and established in your mind and heart, that you do these things because you have God’s blessing, favour, and approval by grace, in Christ – not because you have to do those things to get God’s blessing, favour and approval. Yes God blesses obedience, but we often forget the greatest blessing is in our obedience, rather than it being something we get for our obedience.
In the following blog posts, there will be challenges to make changes, to “do” things, and to invest our time attention and energy in actions. That’s why it’s so important for us to understand that a grace-paced life begins with a grace-based relationship with the Lord.
“…we often forget the greatest blessing is in our obedience, rather than it being something we get for our obedience“.
There is no place for the believer to say, “I won’t do anything if I feel like I have to, or it’s not from the Lord” because God does require obedience. Therefore it’s not an issue of whether we obey or not, but rather how we obey. As 1 John 5:3 reminds us, “…this is the love of God, that we keep His commandments. And His commandments are not burdensome”. If it is a burden to obey our Lord, it just means we have forgotten our grace-position, and have slipped into a “performance trap”. Allow Christ to set you free today.
For thought, prayer and application: Are you a person who relies too much on the approval of others? Do you find yourself tempted to do or say things because of how others will / will not treat you, rather than because it’s the right thing to do? If this is a challenge for you, it’s important to recognise these attitudes will affect how you relate to God. The only remedy is to take those thoughts captive, and replace them with the truth of God’s Word. For all of us, whether we struggle with this or not, it’s essential that every now and again (the Lord’s supper is a great time for this) we check our hearts and acknowledge and correct any thinking that suggests our actions or obedience gain us favour from God, apart from the finished work of Christ. Meditate upon this truth: “God’s love for you is unconditional, and if you never did another thing “for” God for the rest of your life, His love for you would be unchanged”. When we really accept that fact, the response will always be a deep desire to “freely” serve, obey, and honour the God who loves us so incredibly.
Click Below To Read Previous Posts in This Series…
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