Performance anxiety is a real relationship killer. If we are more concerned about gaining the approval of another or impressing that person, then we are not free to enjoy having a relationship with that individual. Similarly, if the people we are around are more concerned about our appearance, performance, or contribution then we sense that tension and our relationship with them is limited. Yet we live in a performance world, but performance is not bad in itself. Scripture says a lot about how we live and what we do, but it also has a lot to say about our hearts in the process.
When we approach our God with a performance perspective then we find that we are not able to fully relax in His presence. And the biggest reason for this is that we come to Him with a wrong understanding of whom He is and who He has made us to be in Christ.
First of all, God knows are every weakness and our sins. There is absolutely nothing that He doesn’t know about us, and if He has called you as one of His children then you are indeed one of His beloved children and you have full acceptance in Him and access to Him. There is nothing that will change that, even our disobedience. He may discipline and correct us, but it does not change His love. Rather, it is a further proof of His love.
Hebrews 12:6-10 For those whom the Lord loves He disciplines, And He scourges every son whom He receives.” It is for discipline that you endure; God deals with you as with sons; for what son is there whom his father does not discipline? But if you are without discipline, of which all have become partakers, then you are illegitimate children and not sons. Furthermore, we had earthly fathers to discipline us, and we respected them; shall we not much rather be subject to the Father of spirits, and live? For they disciplined us for a short time as seemed best to them, but He disciplines us for our good, so that we may share His holiness.
Even Paul evidenced this same sentiment when he wrote a very difficult letter to the Corinthians church as we read in 1 Corinthians 14:14. “I do not write these things to shame you, but to admonish you as my beloved children.”
Ephesians 3:11-12 This was in accordance with the eternal purpose which He carried out in Christ Jesus our Lord, in whom we have boldness and confident access through faith in Him.
So, we have no reason to come sheepishly to God. He already knows and He wants us to come to Him. Even when we sin, we come to Him and deal appropriately with those sins and He set us back straight.
1 John 1:9; 2:1 If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. … (2:1) My little children, I am writing these things to you so that you may not sin. And if anyone sins, we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous;
Secondly, our views of performance can be radically different from God’s and our perception of our ability to perform can be wrongly placed in ourselves and not His enablement. As we read God’s Word we cannot miss the repeated instruction to seek His face, to listen to His voice, and to follow His direction as He gives us what we need in order to do so. God is the one who created us, and He is the one who uniquely endows us both with the innate human talents and abilities which abundantly exist in all humans (Christian or not) and the supernatural enablement that comes from the Holy Spirit, including even special gifting. God knows our days, and He has known every single one of them before there was ever one of them as we read in Psalm 139. He has called us to grow in Christ and to live according to the power of His Spirit and according to the precepts of His Word. He has told us that He will give us the wisdom necessary to do so, and He has called us to trust Him in those areas in which we don’t clearly see what might be going on. Our stewardship of these things does not determine our salvation and our acceptability, though it likely impacts our heavenly rewards. We were (or those yet to be saved –are) saved by faith, and this is how He has called us to live. There are so, so many Bible verses that have been running through my mind as I am writing about all of these truths, and I pray that you are prompted in this way as well when you read it. When we go to God in times of worship, prayer and listening, we are truly going to a God who loves us more than we could ever imagine. When we spend time quietly with Him, we are spending time with one who holds us as beloved children and friends of His Son.
1 John 3:1-2 See how great a love the Father has bestowed on us, that we would be called children of God; and such we are. For this reason the world does not know us, because it did not know Him. Beloved, now we are children of God, and it has not appeared as yet what we will be. We know that when He appears, we will be like Him, because we will see Him just as He is.
Today in “Jesus Calling” by Sarah Young (7/10)
Relax in My peaceful Presence. Do not bring performance pressures into our sacred space of communion. When you are with someone you trust completely, you feel free to be yourself. This is one of the joys of true friendship. ... I [desire] for you to trust Me enough to be fully yourself with Me. When you are real the Me, I … bring out the best in you: the very gifts I have planted in your soul. Relax, and enjoy our friendship.
One of the same seven angels who had the seven bowls came and said to me, “Come, I will show you the punishment of the great prostitute, who sits on many waters.” Revelation 17:14