Performance, striving, pride, living in the Light

There is a major link between religious striving and pride. If one thinks that it is more than simply the grace of God and the moving of His Spirit that allowed some move that He did in our lives to occur, than we will walk in pride. It will also open up the door to religious striving because now we have to keep up through our effort what started by Him and His Spirit (Gal. 3:3). Clearly, any move of God is only an act of grace and tends to happen more when we are out of the way than when it is about us - because God is not after sharing the glory with man. While it is clearly important to consecrate ourselves before seeing God move or even in interactions with Him, if one thinks their preperation and devotion will alone cause the breakthrough rather than a loving God moving in response, they will be disappointed.

So clearly there is a link between pride and striving... if I take credit for some measure of the good in my life, than I have to keep it up. All I can say is "good luck with that" to whoever is living that way. I am convinced this is one of the primary reasons why Christians "lose the grace" or lose the empowerment that allowed them to function in an area - they took credit for the work God did instead of stewarded it through thanksgiving and praise. I think there is also a link between performance and striving. Performance based Christianity has to keep up a good front or reputation and as a result has to keep up an image. As a result, striving generally checks in to keep the image up, all the while the grace (empowerment) on the person's life can start to dwindle. Identity's can start to come from what one can do by performance instead of through relationship with Him as His child. But God never was after His children creating identities about what He can do through them - He was after them being known as His children - then what He does through them will flow out of them through relationship without them trying to strive to make it occur.

I really liked how the School of the Supernatural has been emphasizing the importance of performance dying through living in the light. Openness and attempting to create a false image of oneself has to die when there is a genuine honesty about short comings and all of life. But it is this allowing of others to speak into our lives that is one of the essential ingredients that allows us to be able to genuinely love - I'm convinced. Because when we face our own issues, the pride of comparison to others starts to die as we see our own need for mercy. Now people are not there to keep a performance with as a never-ending form of bondage where life has no real peace because the person is working for love. No, now people are there to love and treat with value because they are not there to simply validate us.

Does this makes sense? Feel free to ask questions.

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While having our eyes set on the dreams that the Lord has put inside of us, it is absolutely crucial to hold on to them tight in respect to the world and not allowing them to be robbed from us. However, it is also just as crucial to hold on to them loosely before God. It is crucial to let God carve them into what He wants them to be which may be radically different than what we want them to be. Or to let Him grow us into them - even through ways that do not appear like He is. For example, Kris Vallotton tells how his road to ministry was through being in charge of car service stations. In the eyes of the world, this does not look like prepairing for world-wide ministry. Many others in ministry would testify that the road they took would not be the most logical, but it was the road that the Lord opened for them... and generally later they see His hand in it (if not sooner). This process of allowing the Lord to build our futures and trusting Him to is really the basis of surrender, I think. Surrender isn't about trying to think of the most awful thing to do and then deciding that "I guess I could do it if God wanted me to" - I think that's one of the most faulty core ideas of religion. God isn't really after us torturing ourselves in the name of love for Him. He IS after our being willing to give up our futures and put them into His hands knowing that He is for us and wants to grow us in the way He sees best. When we put it in His hands knowing that He is taking care of us all the while going after with tenacity the advancement of His kingdom, then I think we have a better concept of surrender. If He wants to shift our focus, than He is free to.
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I think people feel under attack by the enemy or like they have lost their peace of mind when they are one step behind in the Spirit. Let me explain. I used to think more along the lines of - we have an enemy, He is against us, so we should realize that attack will come but that we can live in overcoming. However, I think my focus has shifted a bit. Sure, that can still be an issue, but often I think it is just that He wants us to grow. How did the attack come in? What area of our life do we need to grow in or change. Where do we need His empowerment in a different area of life so as to maintain walking in His peace and freedom? As we keep step with the Spirit, we live more and more in His peace and freedom.