Grace Emerges

Saturday, June 2, 2012

The Performance-Driven Life: Praying for a Cure

by Brad Duncan

I'm researching a cure for the Performance-Driven Life. Christians everywhere succumb to this addictive and contagious, but exhausting, way of life.  There is treatment available, and there is hope for a long-term cure.

Symptom #1: Worship that Pleases God and Earns Favor
Because of an ambitious work ethic and performance-driven culture we are driven to curry God's favor with passionate expressions of praise and flattery.  We feel that more earnest or intense expressions will please God, meeting God's need for human attention, and resulting in our satisfaction in a job well done.

However this pleasing behavior is known to have risks and side-effects, the main one being that God's pleasure cannot be generated using this method.  God does not seek human glory or fame, nor emotional fervor or intense expressions of devotion.  These are just words to a God that knows our hearts before we speak.  Rather, God requests our participation and relational authenticity.  Listen more.  Say less, and when we do speak, then speak with integrity and not with flattery.  Don't spam God with your prayers or praises.

The main cure for God-pleasing pathology is to:

  • ask God what type of connection with humans is actually pleasant and healthy
  • consider how you would want to be treated by your own friends and relatives, and try to cultivate a similarly healthy relationship with God
  • practice good communication skills, like active listening, mirroring back what you think you are hearing, communicating what you really feel and think using appropriate feeling words and ownership of your own ideas. 
  • resist toxic and unhealthy communication patterns, by learning about how these patterns of communication are harmful to others and reduce relational quality
  • look to Jesus who showed us the path to authentic relationship with God.  Imitate his methods of seeking God and following God's guidance.  Listen to Jesus' teachings about true worship and honest prayer.  Recall that following the teachings of Jesus is like building our house on the rock -- it builds a firm and healthy foundation for our spiritual life.  Did Jesus flatter God with flowery words?

Other symptoms are also under research:
#2: Build the Church System
#3. Become like Christ-ians
#4. Serving God as Servants (or Slaves)
#5. Become a World-Class Christian with a Mission
See the post: The Performance Driven Life: What on Earth am I Here For?

Together, we can find a cure.  It's time to care.  It's time to fight the Performance-Driven Life.

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