Part One of Two
“The truth of the gospel is intended to free us to love God and others with our whole heart. When we ignore this heart aspect of our faith and try to live out our religion solely as correct doctrine or ethics, our passion is crippled, or perverted, and the divorce of our soul from the heart purposes of God toward us is deepened.”John Eldredge, The Sacred Romance
The Engine of Your Soul
The key to a high-performance Christianity is not to focus on your performance at all. Instead, fix your eyes on the lover of your soul. Grow in your love relationship with Jesus, and you will always do more, produce more, and find more meaning in your faith. Living out of a love relationship does more for the engine of your soul than pulling up your bootstraps and being committed to religious duty ever will.
We have established we all have access to God only because of His kindness towards us. It is your response that brings about His blessing. This principle goes far beyond just the salvation experience.
To help you with this I would like to offer ten steps to a high-performance Christianity.
Step 1: Responsibility
Take responsibility for where you are. Do not blame anyone else. You will never experience personal growth while focusing on someone else’s need to change. Even Job, when he was proved right by God, still received correction in areas he could grow.
Step 2: Forgiveness
“I have decided to stick with love. Hate is too great a burden to bear.”– Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
One of the most significant demonstrations of grace is the ability to forgive.
I no longer try to hold everyone accountable. I can more positively influence others by loving them, pointing them to God, and letting Him be the judge.
Forgive those who hurt and disappoint you. This includes offering grace to leaders who do not offer it to others themselves.
I have learned one of the most important lessons about forgiveness from my wife, Amy. She realized you should not hope others will be exposed for their wrongs. Instead, you should pray they will be exposed to the right things. God has a way of taking care of the rest when you do this.
Step 3: Generosity
“God does not need your good works, but your neighbor does”– Martin Luther
Generosity is part of the lifestyle of a grace-filled believer. It is not just about finances.
It can be fun to find practical ways to be generous throughout the day with your words, attitudes, actions, and resources. You can do this by being an encourager or sharing your belongings. Have a bucket of positivity ready to pour out when you sense someone being negative instead of pointing out their mistakes.
Step 4: Thankfulness
“You can easily judge the character of a man by how he treats those who can do nothing for him.”– Malcolm Forbes
Embracing grace requires an intentional shift to an attitude of gratefulness. One way to measure your thankfulness is in how you respond to everyday disappointments.
How do you react when your order is wrong at a restaurant? If a side item, or something else trivial, is mixed up do you humbly accept it? Or do open a grand investigation on the scale equal to a possible poisoning of a member of the royal family?
You may be thinking, “Well, I am the one paying for that meal, and I expect it to be right!” To that, I would ask, have you ever worked in a kitchen? Have you ever had someone make you feel worthless over something that was out of your control?
Instead of complaining about how, “it’s hard to find good help these days,” and how “this restaurant used to be a great place to go eat,” just be thankful you can afford a meal and are able to spend time with friends and family. Then leave a generous tip. Let’s not just share God’s grace. Give some of your own as well. You will never be the same if you do.
Step 5: Read Differently
Start reading the Bible differently. Instead of looking at passages through an old performance-oriented filter, read through a lens of grace.
Do not allow reading the Bible to become a checklist item. I would prefer you put your reading plan aside for a season then allow spending time in God’s word to become a task that creates spiritual pride.
I would suggest reading in Galatians to help reset your bible reading filter. Pray through it as you are read. Ask God questions and let Him speak to you. You can also spend some time just going through the Psalms to find healing. Another option is to read the gospels and see how Jesus treated sinners and responded to the spiritually proud.
In my next post we will go over the other five keys to a high-performance Christianity in part two.