Thursday, November 13, 2008
Performance Based Spirituality that Leads to Emotional Chaos
It is so easy to fall prey to this, but “checklist” or “performance based” spirituality is perhaps the most dangerous killer to one’s genuine walk with God. What happens is that there is this subtle shift that takes place in our lives where we begin to think that blessings that come into our lives are a result of our own actions rather than that which is simply from God himself. Then we get puffed up thinking, “hey, I’m doing pretty good here,” and pride sets in. Not only that, but we begin to judge success by worldly standards (and things like suffering seems to feel like punishment when it may have nothing to do with it).
Have you ever fallen into this trap? Like Peter, you’ve stopped to look around and evaluate things and have taken your eyes off of Christ and before you know it your spiritual walk starts sinking (Matt. 14:30). You know you’ve done this when your prayer life starts to dwindle – your time in the Word gets crowded out by your schedule – and you start complaining more. Another symptom of this is the unending emotional roller coaster that comes daily simply from changes in circumstances.
If our daily attitudes are so very affected by circumstances, then you can bet we are spiritual wimps. We are called to live by faith, not by sight. Faith is not a religious activity; it’s not even a devotional practice. Faith is a certainty that you are united to Jesus Christ, that this world is not your home, that you are His servant, that you have died to yourself, that He owns you, and that He bought you at a price so that you would stop living for yourself but for the One you will worship for all eternity. Faith is sharing in the incarnation with Him. Faith is the belief that all this is true.
Gaze at Him. Worship Him. Plead and pray to Him. Call out to Him. Seek Him. Trust Him. Be satisfied with Him. Love Him. Fall on your knees before Him. He is glorious. He is mighty. He is sovereign. He is good and kind. He is safe. He is real.
When you approach your life and faith this way, all the rest of the checklist and performance based stuff takes care of itself, because the Holy Spirit brings it forth naturally and you don’t even realize it. Bottom line: Get your eyes off of yourself, and put it on Him, and then you’ll never have time to stop and say, “hey, I’m doing pretty good at this,” because you were never looking at yourself in the first place.