Pastor's Blog
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November 17, 2014, 12:00 AM

Performance Based Living

It is Sunday evening. I am sitting in our living room thinking about the morning worship times, specifically the sermon part of those experiences. I often do this on Sunday evenings - review what I said and how I said it before I turn the corner and begin work on the next message. Usually there are some smiles, and prayers of thanks for a few things that went well. But the reflections are often dominated by thoughts like, "I could have said that better." or "Did I really say THAT?" or "Darn it - I left that illustration out." or "That point could have been a little clearer." or "The whole thing was too long." I know - I can hear some of you saying, "Don't be so hard on yourself." And sometimes I hear myself saying that. But as one who is constantly trying to improve, trying to give his absolute best to the Master, critical self-evaluation is extremely important for improvement. 

The danger in this process is that there is a hair-thin line between self evaluation and self abuse. We can beat ourselves up at times about the should-haves and the wish-I-would-haves to the point where our self identity gets wrapped up in whether or not we have performed well - even perfectly. And how we feel about ourselves - postive or negative - spills over into all other areas of our lives - families, friendships, careers, attitudes towards life in general. The fickleness of performance based self image can lead to a host of challenges for us ranging from deep depression and hopelessness on one end, to downright arrogance on the other.

I am grateful for a God who constantly finds creative ways to remind me of who I really am, not who I feel I am based on whether or not I have performed well. Texts like these are bedrock for a healthy Biblical self image: 

"Once you were not a people, but now you are the people of God; once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy." (1Peter 2:10)

"But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: while we were still sinners, Christ died for us." (Romans 5:8)

"How great is the love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are!" (1 John 3:1)

You and I are accepted by God because God says so, not because we have performed or not performed well enough. That's not to say self reflection has no place in our lives. It's where we start the reflection that matters: as a child of God seeking to deepen one's experience of God's grace, or as a man or woman that hopes to qualify for grace somewhere, somehow, sometime before its to late.

I imagine my Sunday evening sermonic reflection times will continue into the foreseeable future.....but God, help me remember I am your child, whether I get it right or not. That's my prayer for you, too: remember you are a child of God not based on getting it right or wrong, but because God in Christ claims you as one. 

Keep Lookin' Up!

Pastor D.



Comments

12-16-2014 at 2:42 PM
Dawn Anderson
I love the way you say "through me or in spite of me." God already has it figured out!
11-18-2014 at 8:42 PM
Sue Dreves
Love it...it reminds me of the recent sermon you preached on living from the "Inside Out." I put this up in my office to remind me that the one whose opinion matters most has already made up His mind if I am worthy enough, smart enough, talented enough, good enough,...etc. Thanks for sharing!
11-17-2014 at 9:43 AM
Beth Stanish
Thank you
11-17-2014 at 8:08 AM
Pat Mann
Wow! Coincidence, I don't think so. My BFF and I had some conversation about this same thing in the parking lot of an incident I experienced on Friday. (self examination - self abuse) Lo and behold, her words to me - comforting ,encouraging and building me up. I thank God for this series of messages the Lord has laid upon your heart, and, for those God is using in my journey with Him. As iron sharpens iron. (Prov 27:17)
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