• Tyler Barnes

Why Performance Based Discipleship Doesn't Work

Have you ever found yourself feeling like the Christian life is a list of do’s and don’ts?

Have you ever found it difficult to change sinful behavior and desires? Changing behavior usually has short term results and leaves us dejected and depleted after the failed attempt. Once this has happened a few times, we find it easier to hide and minimize our sinfulness than deal with it at all. The cycle of hiding and performing is exhausting! But that is exactly what the Christian life becomes all about: performing for a holy God and hiding our own sinfulness. The longer we are a part of the church and the more we study Scripture the more aware we become of the chasm between our sinfulness and God’s holiness. The chasm that was once filled with Christ begins to be filled more and more with our best efforts to deal with our sin (hiding and performing). Christ is still central to our faith but all the added effort to clean ourselves up makes the cross look foggy and small. It is this cycle that burns out pastors, volunteers, and church members. This is why students leave the church after high school and do not come back.

The good news is that this is not what God intended for us. The apostle Paul was keenly aware of his wretchedness and God’s goodness and answered consistently that the answer is Christ. Our view of Christ, the cross, and grace must grow. Paul says it simply in Romans 5:20b “But where sin multiplied, grace multiplied even more.” In Ephesians 2:8-9 he says For you are saved by grace through faith, and this is not from yourselves; it is God’s gift— not from works, so that no one can boast.” The grace that saved us is the grace that sustains us. Our hearts should be humbled by our sinfulness and God’s graciousness. When our view of grace grows the outpouring of our Spirit will be the good works and holiness we strive for. A heart invaded by grace, joyfully seeks holiness and serves faithfully. Those of you that are weary, journey back to the foot of the cross and find rest in his grace. This past year has been a journey of understanding that I need grace today as much as I needed grace 5 years ago. A stale faith is one no longer impacted by the cross. If you have read this and found the answer of grace lacking- this is a sure sign that your view of grace needs to grow. Join me in discovering the depths and richness of his grace this Christmas season.