Joyce Meyer - Performance Mentality
Tonight I want to talk about a performance mentality and how miserable it makes us if we think that what God does for us or our relationship with God is based on our performance.
First of all, even our very best good works are still not really all that good after all because all you really have to do in the midst of doing something good, is just for a few minutes, hope that somebody sees you and you get a little credit. It's ruined the whole thing. All you have to do is have just one little wrong motive.
Well, you're doing it, you want to help somebody but you're really kind of wanting to get something for yourself too. So even our best, best, best good works still, to be honest, are not holy enough and righteous enough to be acceptable to God for any kind of payment for anything that we do wrong that would then cause us to deserve anything from God.
Everything that God does for us is because He's good, not because we are good. Now, we have goodness in us, but that goodness is a gift from God and if we are good, if we do anything good, it's only a manifestation of God working in our life and we still don't get to take the credit. God gets the credit and the glory for all goodness.
Some of the disciples called Jesus good Master and even He, speaking out of His humanity side, said, "Why do you call Me good? There's no one good but God".
So even Jesus, when He was here in a human body, He didn't even now, we don't have to have a bad opinion of ourselves. I like to say that I'm an everything nothing. I'm everything in Christ, nothing in myself, and that's the way that we need to look at it. Apart from Him, we can do nothing. I'm nothing apart from Him, but through Him, watch out, world, we can do amazing things through Christ.
I heard someone say one time, and I really liked this, it is yet to be seen what God could do through a man or a woman who would give Him all of the glory, all the glory. So when we do make an attempt to do good things or we perform in any way, and I'm not talking about putting on an act, but I'm talking about just the things that we do.
Now I want you to get this, we need to do good things. The Bible teaches us to be full of good works. It teaches us to be mindful, to be a blessing to other people, especially to those of the household of faith. We're taught to read and study the Word. We're taught to pray. We're taught to spend time with God.
All of those are good things and we need to do all of those things, but when we do them, we're not doing them for God because God doesn't need anything. It doesn't help God when I read my Bible. It helps me when I read my Bible. So I don't need to act like if I get up every day and read three or four chapters of the Bible and spend, you know, half an hour in prayer that I'm doing God some big favor and now I get a checkmark on my little heavenly calendar and now that entitles me to more answer to prayer and greater favor and greater blessing because God doesn't need me to do that for Him.
He's okay. I need it. I pray 'cause I need to pray. Who would not want to pray if you really understand that you have the privilege of going boldly to the throne of grace and asking a merciful God, not only to forgive your sins, but to meet every need that you have. Who would not want to do that? Who would not want to study the Bible and learn how to have a life worth living?
If you buy a piece of equipment and take it home and it's not working, you go get the manual and figure out what you're doing wrong. Well, you know what? If life isn't working for you, here's a manual and it doesn't take very long to figure out what's wrong. This is literally the operations manual for life. This is how you can have a life that is worth living.
So now, I want to make sure that everybody gets what I'm trying to say. So when we do good works, which we should do, when we do good things, we don't do them to get something from God because everything that comes to us from Him is a free gift by His grace and His mercy because we could never deserve it. But all those things that we do, we do because of what He's done for us, in gratitude for what He's done for us, wanting to glorify Him and to live the life that His Son died to give us, not to get, but to give. Is everybody with me tonight?
So one of the biggest mistakes that we can make is to get on this performance-acceptance treadmill type thing where we think that every time we don't perform right, then we dare not expect anything from God because we're not going to get it. God is pleased with you, as long as you are believing in Him.
Now, what about this treadmill? I've got a whole chapter in this book on this treadmill. Let me read it to you a little bit.
Is your mentality, "I owe, I owe, so off to work I go"? And I'm not talking about physical debt, I'm talking about, "Well, I wasn't so good yesterday, so today I need to be better so I'm gonna get up this morning and I'm gonna work really hard so I'm gonna study more. I'm gonna read more. I'm gonna do a lot of really nice works. I'm gonna really try to be good with my mouth today and then, boy, is good gonna be happy with me and pleased with me and then maybe I can get my prayers answered".
That's just a bunch of nonsense. And when you are blessed, if you think that you're getting blessed because you deserve it, then there's something wrong with that too.
"Every day when I woke up, I felt I had to pay for all my sins and mistakes of the day before so I formulated a plan on how good I would be, hoping to work my way back into God's good pleasure and favor. During that time, I regularly attended a church that taught salvation by grace and not by works. I said I believed it, but I didn't apply it to my life.
Even though I did some things right, I also did many things wrong that overshadowed the little bit that I did that was right, so I never got ahead. The next day I still owed from the day before and had to get back on the treadmill once again. By the end of each day, I was spiritually, mentally, physically and emotionally completely worn out from trying to please God and it made me grouchy and hard to get along with and not very enjoyable to be around".
Can anybody say, "I relate to that, sister Joyce"? All right now, Matthew chapter 11, verses 28 through 30, beautiful scriptures.
Come unto me, all ye that labor and are heavy-laden and overburdened, and I will cause you to rest. [i will ease and relieve and refresh your souls.] take my yoke upon you and learn of me, for I am humble, gentle (meek) and (lowly) in heart, and you will find rest (relief and ease and refreshment and recreation and blessed quiet) for your souls, you inner life. For my yoke is wholesome (useful, good-it is not harsh, hard, sharp, or pressing, it is comfortable, gracious, pleasant), and my burden is light and easy to be borne.
God is actually really pretty easy to get along with if you get right down to it. He really actually is pretty easy to get along with because every day He's got a whole brand-new batch of mercy whipped up, just in case we used up all of yesterday's. He's got some new every day. He's gracious and merciful and good and kind and loving and patient and longsuffering.
Why we would ever let the devil trap us into this fear, this vague fear that every time we make a mistake, God is mad. I now look back and I think, how could I have wasted so many years of my life and been so miserable thinking that?
And I pray, pray, pray, with all my heart that God will use this book and these messages to set countless, multiplied, hundreds of thousands of people free from this treadmill of performance and failure and guilt and condemnation and crawling back out of it and getting right back on the treadmill and doing it again and again and again and again.
I want you to get comfortable with God. I want you to stop counting what you do wrong and counting what you do right and just simply come to Him. Amen?