26: Stop the Performance Cycle
**To kick off our Daniel series, and in preparation for moving into our new home on October 18th, the elders have invited our church family to a 28-day season of prayer and fasting. These daily devotionals correspond with the 28-day Bible reading countdown to the day we celebrate our soft opening.**
"Did you receive the Spirit by observing the law or by believing what you heard...Are you now trying to perfect your goal by human effort?" Galatians 3:2
Paul keeps landing blow after blow directly at our need to perform and our desire to validate our existence.
Have you ever had that feeling that you need to bring something to the table of life to validate who you are as a person? I know I have...and still do. It seems once I leave or "outgrow" one desire for validation, I just replace it with another one!
Or have you ever thought, "Once I _____ (do/accomplish/complete/arrive)" then that will validate who I am as a person?
Maybe it's the way your kids turn out. Maybe it's making a sports team. Maybe it's making good grades. Maybe it's the way you perform at your job. Maybe it's meeting a certain financial goal or achieving a certain economic status. Maybe it's the outward perception of how you want people to think of you as a person or family.
Whatever it may be, the gospel reminds us that all we've ever looked for, all we've ever needed, all we've ever really desired, is already ours in Christ. As long as we keep seeking and searching for validation in things or people other than in Christ, we'll wear ourselves out in the process. The gospel of God's grace isn't just what ignites the Christian life, it's what fuels the Christian life to grow us every day.
That's what Paul is getting at here in chapter 3. The Galatians, who received God's promised Spirit by faith, are now trying to mature by human effort.
But Paul won't have any of it. Nope.
He's too jealous for them not to return to law. He even calls them "foolish" and "bewitched." Paul goes to great lengths (quoting the Old Testament 7 times in just this section), to help them see that God called Abraham righteous before the law was given -- and God's promises aren't nullified because of the law. In fact, the law was given precisely to show us we could never qualify.
But the good news is..."You are all sons and daughters of God through faith in Christ Jesus, for all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ." Galatians 3:26
God's love for you is your validation. The bloody cross and the empty tomb is God's declaration that He is now for you. It is the Great Reminder that things between us and God are forever fixed.So, breathe deeply today. Rest. Thank God for His never-ending supply of grace, and stop the performance cycle.