Human Being OR Human Doing?

13 for it is God who works in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure.

Philippians 2:13 (ESV)

We all desire the good life – a life of security, provision, abundance, congruence, and quality relationships.  The seduction of performance connects the quality of our doing to the attainment of the good life.  It converts us from a human being to a human doing.  This is particularly relevant when many of us undergo end of year job performance appraisals.  These annual workplace rituals can leave many of us feeling objectified, minimized, labelled, underappreciated, overwhelmed, anxious and tenuous.  The outcomes frequently determine the views we internalize about ourselves, our colleagues, our potential, and opportunities.

If the good life were not worth attaining this seduction (and the associated processes that determine our value through performance appraisals) would be powerless.  Satan has created an illusion that seeks to control the attainment of the good life through a self-appraisal of our performance (I am not implying that appraisals are satanic, but merely connecting the illusion of connection between attainment and the good life) – a comparison to others who have seemingly attained it and a determination of whether we are as deserving.  Whether we attain this standard or not, there is always another level of attainment to pursue that we are convinced will secure the good life for us even further.  There is never a stopping.  To stop is to concede and admit to a lack of ambition and risk the label of “underperformer”.

If Satan has created this illusion away from the truth, then what is the truth?  The truth is that the good life is not designed to be attained.  It has already been purchased and offered, free of charge, via the saving work of Jesus Christ on the cross (Romans 8:15-17).  Those who accept this gift experience an opportunity to be free of the illusion.  They are in right standing with the Creator of all things (Romans 6:17-18).  The good life is theirs already (Roman 8:32).

Does this mean that work stops?  Indeed not!  This means that work, which was utilized as an instrument to create slavery to performance, becomes a purposeful act of gratitude and submission – a tool that God uses to uncover the full extent of the good life (Colossians 3:23-25). This is akin to lifting clay tiles that cover an already existing golden floor.  Each tile represents work and the golden floor below, the good life.  The effort expended in lifting leaves an internal expression that is indelibly marked on our souls, resulting in the refinement of character – an act that will itself be rewarded.

I therefore have to strive in what God has given me to do – not that I will be rewarded in an earthly way (even though that may result) but so that I will grow in faith and character (1 Peter 1:3-7).

The seduction of performance says, “only attainment through performance can secure the good life.”  Grace says, “the good life has already been attained on our behalf.”  Choose grace.

Be a human BEING rather than a human DOING!

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