6 Jan 2006

Performance related behavior?

Submitted by theshovel
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Hey Jim, How’s it going? I just wanted to tell you again how much of an encouragement you are to me. The Life of Christ just flows from you in such a simple and profound way. Realize that God is using you in ways that are unfathomable. I love reading your thoughts. I just finished reading your writings about God’s will and I thoroughly enjoyed every bit. I have a question that is nagging me and it has to do with what is being discussed lately on the shack. there are so many verses in the N.T. that seem to be pointing to performance related behavior. like loving one another, walking in humility, abstaining from sexual immorality, etc. Now, I do understand these are not just the same old commands that have no Life but they are connected to the reality of Christ and us being in Him. I guess my question is how do we see this LIFE within us. How do we make this LIFE happen?? Why would Paul tell us these things in relation to Life if we could not do anything about it. I’m thinking about “letting” Christ live through me (which I know is bogus), but it makes sense to our logic because it seems like the only explanation. Otherwise do we just sit back, relax, and wait for God to do these “miracles” in us?? then why would Paul write as if we are to do these things? If we want to see these attributes evident/expressed in our life is there anything we can do about it?? I hope you are understanding where I’m coming from. I look forward to your response with great anticipation! I hope your family is well. God BLESS YOU. Grace and Peace to you. Love, Dave

Hello my dear friend, Dave! I have been encouraged reading what you have to say as well. :)

I have a question that is nagging me and it has to do with what is being discussed lately on the shack. there are so many verses in the N.T. that seem to be pointing to performance related behavior

I think we get too caught up with catchwords and phrases that trigger our legalism-watchdog reflexes — like performance and behavior — and it so easily throws us for a loop. Unnecessarily so. Believe me, I know this in a very personal way! :) We often get stuck in that same old doctrinal-based approach to life because we think we need to categorize the stuff of life. After all, we KNOW that we cannot do these things (in our flesh), and so as soon as it seems someone is suggesting we can do one or more of these things (in our flesh) our alerts go up and we reject it based upon this premise. What if we are simply falling back upon a rigid knowledge to protect our collection of grace principles, rather than in view of Christ in us?

Otherwise do we just sit back, relax, and wait for God to do these “miracles” in us??

I know, it sounds both spiritually accurate as well as being an excuse at the same time, eh? haha! I mean, we KNOW that our new life is supposed to be one of resting and trusting and waiting–and that God does it in us. But this grace-premise creates an image in our perception that we keep hoping we could possibly attain. We’ve established a bogus contrast that convinces us that we can not reach this restful place of “waiting” unless we were to cease all activity in our lives. In other words, can I do anything without messing it all up? We produce these conundrums via grace-based principles or premises, not according to faith.

This is the same insanity that has us wondering if faith itself is something we do. After all, if I going to sit back and relax do I just cease all activity and drop where I’m at or must I find a place that is suitable for relaxing? hahaha! I mean, if I’m in a rocky place I won’t be able to rest if I sit back there, will I? Of course, we can create a scenario that makes it all fit together–like, just drop and God will provide an air mattress at the beach with a refreshing drink complete with one of those little umbrellas–but we’re only furthering our spiritualized dilemmas with yet more grace principles.

Without me you can do nothing John 15:5

A friend of mine — a grace teacher — would always quote this verse from John 15, making sure to emphasize his point by elaborating on the word “nothing” to include any imaginable everyday activity, including breathing. Now, I know that according to knowledge we could accurately project this all-inclusive “nothing” into the meaning, but does this really have anything to do with what Jesus was telling his disciples? I think not. Instead, this insertion steers us away from what he was telling them by pulling us into the realm of temporal things, general principle kind of things like walking and talking and breathing, etc. What Jesus had been speaking to them about had to do with the inability to do the works of the Father: aka Life or Love. If there is life or love, then everything else follows. Well, we HAVE been made alive which has made his love to be “shed abroad in our hearts”.

If Paul had established this reality to his hearers — which is how he wrote his letters — and then addressed certain matters in view of this reality he was obviously not asking them to do these things according to the flesh. I don’t mean to suggest that there would be no appearance-related factors involved because the life of God most certainly breaks through … only not for the purpose of making a good show of it. It is what it is. And what it is may easily be judged as something else, even as being evil by those who benefit from what they have misjudged. It was with Jesus, and it will be with us. It is not evil to us.

Love, Jim

Comments

I struggled with this issue for some time until one day while I pondering how good life must have been for both Adam and Eve in the Garden. Then it hit me like a ton of bricks. What God has wanted from the very beginning was open, honest, and loving fellowship with those that He has created. In reading the account of life in the Garden, I only know of the one restriction placed on His two new companions and that was for their own good. He really loves being a Father and just like all good fathers but much more so, He wants the very best for us. And very much like an earthly father He guides us, teaches us, and when necessary; He disciplines us but it all stems from a heart of pure love. What earthly father basis how much he will love his children on how well they perform or behave? Unfortunately many of us had or have earthly fathers that deeply hurt us and we tend to want to behave so that our Heavenly Father will approve of us. Don’t fall for that lie. Our God truly is an AWESOME God. Just let Him hold you in His arms, caress your forehead, and whisper in your ear how much He absolutely loves you and how truly free you are now that you are joined as one with Him through the Living Christ. Bless you. Art
Light Comes To Those Who Seek It

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The whole point of being born of the spirit is that we are made to share in the riches of Christ! source