Monday, July 11, 2016

The Performance Trap

The moment you received Christ into your heart, you were born again. At that moment, God loved you as much as He ever will love you. Because His love is perfect, His love for you will never be any more or any less than at that instant you gave your life to Him. Yet, at times it is difficult to trust His love.

Some time ago, a lady came into my office, brokenhearted over marriage issues. In spite of her prayers, her husband left her for another woman. How could she cope? How could she ever trust another man? She blamed herself. She blamed God--why had He let it happen?

Like her, we have all wrestled with doubt. Often the performance of others, our own past performance, or the performance of God (an uncomfortable concept—but it’s how we often feel), leave us doubting God.

1. Our past performance. Any time adversity strikes we tend to look inward. We ask ourselves, “What did I do wrong? What could I have done differently?” Yes, we have all sinned. Yes, we would have prevented tragedy if we could have seen into the future, but we cannot. We must ask for God’s forgiveness and move on, because when we hold on to past guilt, we actually cheapen the cross. As a result, we begin to live as if the cross was only a down payment for our sins and now we are paying off the balance.
So why should God help us? Because He loves us and His grace is sufficient. Hebrews 8:12 says, “For I will be merciful to their iniquities, and I will remember their sins no more.” God will not remember your sins—the past is the past. Our sins are forgiven at a high price, but, know the price has been paid.

2. The performance of others. Many of our problems and prayers center on other people. Perhaps we have to deal with a rebellious child or a difficult supervisor at work. We cannot control what others do, but how can we place our faith in God when the trials we face concern others? Will God infringe on the free will of another person just to answer our prayers? No one can fully answer that question, but I will say He can if He wants to. He is God. I believe He can draw people to repentance and place the desire in people’s hearts that they will know it is better to follow Christ than go their own way. Nothing is impossible with God.

3. God’s performance. Often our greatest struggles are the struggles we have with God. We expect attacks from Satan, but we feel our loving, heavenly Father should always come through for us. Many of our struggles have to do with our perception of God’s past performance in times of trial. Deuteronomy 8:2 teaches us that God humbles us and tests us, to see what is in our heart. “You shall remember all the way which the Lord your God has led you in the wilderness these forty years, that He might humble you, testing you, to know what was in your heart, whether you would keep His commandments or not.” 

Whatever God does in our lives is for our good and His glory. As He brings us through trials we are able to humble ourselves anew at the cross, we are able to turn our attention to Christ—depending only on Him.
For more on this subject, check out my book, Overcoming Spiritual Vertigo (click on book on right).

What are your thoughts on this?

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