Not By My Own Merit

Performance orientation. That’s what my discipleship coordinator called it. You see, I’ve always tended to base how I feel in my relationship with God off of how well I perceive myself to be… well, performing.

If I had been having good, gospel-centered conversations with guys, had been consistent in taking time to do my quiet time and pray and really think about the things of God, then I felt like things were okay between God and I.

On the other hand, if I had been choosing sin over holiness (and was aware of it) or had neglected time with the Lord, I felt like my relationship with the Lord was stretched thin.

Now those aren’t completely inaccurate, but what I’ve had to learn is that when I measure my spiritual standing by how I’m doing, in a way I miss the point of the gospel. They may be good indicators of spiritual growth and maturity, but they do not determine my standing before God.

In Christ’s life, death and resurrection, He made me righteous before God – see 2 Corinthians 5:21. That means I have a right standing before God that is by faith, not based on my own efforts (Philippians 3:9). Not only did He begin my relationship with the Father, but He maintains it too.

When I judge myself based on my own efforts, I am either arrogantly thinking that I could in fact be good enough to maintain my relationship with God, or I doubt that Christ’s work was indeed enough to create and maintain a relationship between God and me. But in the gospel, I am confronted that both of these are untrue. I am so sinful that it took the Son of God dying to pay for my sin – and yet there is hope for me because He did die for my sin! And in the resurrection we see that Christ’s sacrifice was more than enough to cover my sins.

I’m still learning this and am certainly far from grasping it, but God is teaching me to rest in who He is and what He has done and let that be what motivates me. Perhaps another mentor put it best, “CJ, what I want to challenge you with is to really delight in God.” That was based off of Psalm 37:4 at a time when I was doing things for God, but not always taking time to truly enjoy the relationship He’s given me.

So that’s my challenge for you – delight in the Lord and what He has done for you. Approach Him on both good and bad days based on the standing you have in Jesus, not your own merit. And live loved by Him.

“Delight yourself in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart.” – Psalms‬

“He made the One who did not know sin to be sin for us, so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.” – 2 Corinthians‬

“More than that, I also consider everything to be a loss in view of the surpassing value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. Because of Him I have suffered the loss of all things and consider them filth, so that I may gain Christ and be found in Him, not having a righteousness of my own from the law, but one that is through faith in Christ — the righteousness from God based on faith.” – Philippians‬

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