The Weed of Performance


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I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in Me,

and I in Him, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing.

- John 15:5 NKJV

“The continual performance of a single task reduces a man to the level of a machine.”

This is a quote on Google without any reference but I thought it was a powerful statement concerning the Christian life. We can get caught up with busyness and performance that we think is the work of the Lord but in fact it’s just a rat race that satan has us on.

If we aren’t careful Satan will distract us into “doing” instead of “being” and then we lose contact with the desire God has for our lives.

God recently reminded me of the word virtue. In 2 Peter 1:5, it talks about adding virtue to your faith, and to virtue knowledge. Virtue is something that only the power of God through the Holy Spirit can provide. We are only able to exercise virtue through His grace and our faith. 2 Peter 1:3-4 (NIV) explains it this way:

“His divine power has given us everything we need for a godly life through our knowledge of Him who called us by His own glory and goodness. Through these He has given us His very great and precious promises, so that through them you may participate in the divine nature, having escaped the corruption in the world caused by evil desires.”

- 2 Peter 1:3-4 NIV.

Exercising virtue is being able to treat others fairly, make Godly decisions, make Biblical choices, and show kindness to others. We have to keep God at the center of our lives, devote ourselves to Him, to be able to discern what He wants us to accomplish. Just like Jesus said in the above Scripture, He who abides in Me, bears much fruit. Abiding in Jesus is letting His love, joy, peace, kindness, compassion, and mercy flow through you to other people. It’s about spending time in God’s Word.

It’s easy to feel like you have to be doing something for God to prove you love Him but God doesn’t call us to perform. He calls us to love. If we are constantly wrapped up in doing tasks that turn us into robots we lose our focus of loving God and loving others.

God didn’t create us to be robots. He created us to have feelings and emotions that we can use to express our love, devotion, loyalty, and worship to Him. We can only grow in our Christian walk by listening to God and exercising virtue. If we are consumed with doing tasks all the time we won’t have time to be still and listen. The still, small voice is in the stillness. When we obey His voice this is what produces fruit in our lives. To produce the things of God we have to be able to hear Him speak.

In my own experience I can say that I have allowed this to happen to me. I can get myself overwhelmed with doing things and forget to just spend time sitting in the presence of God. When I realize I have gotten off course I stop and just sit. When I do this everything comes back into focus, I hear His voice telling me what is most important to do, and I do it. It’s amazing how much you really can get done when you listen to His Holy Spirit! Not only that, but you feel the sense of accomplishment you were longing for to begin with just by obeying. When you know that you’re in the will of God there is a calm peace of mind that you have. No more frazzled, rushing around!

"Strive for progress, not perfection"

Reflection

1. Consider reevaluating your schedule to cut out the things that aren’t life giving.

2. Think about when you can spend quality time with God, then devote that time to Him.

3. If you struggle with performance, a great read is Present Over Perfect by Shauna Niequist.

Prayer

Thank You for giving me Your Holy Spirit to dwell in me, guide me, and help me to accomplish the things You created me to do. Everything else is meaningless. I want to obey You and leave something of eternal value on this earth. Please help me discern when things are getting out of hand and guide me back into Your loving presence where I can hear You speak, Amen.

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