“Does he who supplies the Spirit to you and works miracles among you do so by works of the law, or by hearing with faith…?” Gal. 3:5 ESV.
It is so easy to fall back into the performance trap.
As a Christ-follower for many years, I am always dumbfounded when I see faith communities practice religion while they preach the Gospel of Jesus Christ. They usually expound that work and faith go hand-in-hand. And they are correct. The problem arises when the emphasis is on the external show rather than the internal heart.
This is nothing new under the sun. The religious leaders in Jesus’ day would constantly harass Him and his disciples because of the actions of His followers. These religious policemen rightly saw that His disciples spent more time eating and drinking rather than fasting (Luke 5:33). These religious informers witnessed His disciples plucking heads of grain to eat on the Sabbath day and thereby breaking the Sabbath law (Mk. 2:23-28). And when the Pharisees saw that some of the disciples ate before washing their hands, again they accused Jesus’ team of not performing according to their religious expectations.
Yet Jesus always used the events of the moment to teach truth. He explained what is important comes from inside a person and not necessarily from outside performance (Mk. 7:14-23). It is easier to judge outside behavior than to determine interior motives. Yet behavior is what we mostly hang our hats unto in a performance culture.
As a Christ-follower, did we receive the Holy Spirit because we lived perfectly and God rewarded us with His presence within us? Or were we so broken that God gracefully showed up and carried us through the trial? Every believer that I have met who has a close relationship with the living God has experienced brokenness. They acknowledged that their performance stunk to high heaven. Only after such a time as this did the Holy Spirit empower Himself in us. And we knew it right then and there.
Yes it takes belief and work to live the Christian experience. The emphasis though in most cases is that a believing heart will eventually heal and grow into an outward manifestation of itself. The work is only a byproduct of the inner man. Humanist teach that one can change one’s behavior so the end result is achieved. This is the focus of performance-oriented people. The inner heart doesn’t matter. The Holy Spirit is excluded from the equation.
Christian’s believe that grace changes the heart that leads to godly performance. This is what Jesus’ taught in Mark 7. Yes it takes both faith and works. The question is which one leads and which one follows? Do you intentionally build from faith or do you build from works? So what is the basis of your actions – to trust the Holy Spirit to transform your heart or to window dress the facade through manipulative performance? God knows. But do you?
Rooting For You in Christ!
Executive Director & Founder
Marketplace Bible Institute
& Resource Center, Inc
Author of e-Books:
* Great Business Emulates a Good God
* Be Radical…Follow Christ!
* Simply The Messenger
* Unequally Married
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