Life = Performance = Wasted Life

Oh man.  I’ve had enough today of grousing about what different denominations are doing.  For goodness’ sake people!  When we pray “let your will be done, on earth as it is in Heaven” does it ever occur to us that Christ prayed for His people to be united?!

It got me thinking though.

Stay-at-home-daughterhood can (not saying always or even mostly) lead to an arrogance in believing we know best but there’s more again (just letting my mind flow with this one…bear with me!).  It can lead to us trying to appear perfect.  It’s called legalism.  It means performance is more important than the heart.

I’m not saying there shouldn’t be visible fruit.  But the fruit of the Spirit is love, patience, kindness etc. – and those should be growing in all Christians’ lives, not just us stay-at-home girls.  The aim is to be godly, not just a good Christian.  Can you see the difference?  One is dealing with your heart attitude, the other is dealing with what people think of you.

I remember thinking, not that long ago, that you couldn’t be a really good Christian if you had pierced ears, wore makeup or had a tattoo, if you listened to rock or rap music.  Yet, why?  Really, at the end of the day, why does wearing mascara or blue nail varnish make me any more or less of a Christian?  Why does wearing jeans set someone apart from ‘good Christian girl’??  I took a step back and honestly looked at it: it was because it didn’t fit the mould.  You know, the mould of ‘nice Christian girl’.  Yet in light of all Christ did for us…in light of the fact we’re standing by grace because of the scandalous gift we were given (– isn’t it a scandal that the perfect Son of God died, besmirched by and paying for sins He never committed, so that we could walk scot free into Heaven, claiming on that???)  Truly, in light of that gift, the mould of ‘nice Christian girl’ – is that really what we’re aiming for??

And for many of us, perhaps the honest answer is yes.

Yes, that is the aim.  Not to rock the boat.  Not to bring dishonour to our families (noble thought).

And I’m not advocating going out to deliberately shock people.  That’s not the heart attitude we’re called to either.

What I want to call out though is this performance perfect Christianity.  Where fear of what other people thinking, making sure we appear to have it all together, becomes more important that the knowledge we are saved by grace and we are called to live that out with, dare I say it, reckless abandon.

We are allowed to make mistakes.  If we turn, realise it was a mistake, ask for forgiveness – it’s ok.  You can move on.  You don’t have to be paralysed by fear that if you step out in faith, you’re going to mess it all up and God will never use you again.

When I finished my A’levels, I started…no, I lie – I’d already been worrying and praying about it for a year…I continued praying that God would make it clear what the next step was.  I didn’t feel going away to college was the right choice for me but I also was not convinced sitting around at home would do me any good.  A job came up working with a child at the local school.  Yes, in a state school, in a class I had already been helping out in.  Thanks to my upbringing, I already had a heart for hurting children, so often forgotten or ignored.  More than that, I knew this job would be a challenge but God could use me in it to do something for Him.

I applied.

I don’t think I was prepared for the raised eyebrows (to my face) and the condemnation (to my parents’ faces) of stepping out of the mould in such a way.

What was I doing, not only working outside the home, but in a school??

I’d broken the rules of ‘Christian stay-at-home daughter’ and it was frowned on.

I am so grateful for my parents who took the backlash and calmly encouraged me to serve God in the place He had called me to.

It wasn’t a mistake, it was a calling.  I will stand by that.  If I had let the fear of other people rule my decisions, I would not have discovered for myself how standing there with a hurting, angry child can push you waaaaaaay beyond what you are capable of dealing with and into the realm of supernatural, God-given, Spirit loving.  There reaches a stage where your human love is snapped and you can’t stand it anymore and you are praying as hard as you can that you will turn to face this child with a face of kindness and through His power, you can do it.  That child wouldn’t have had their life touched by God’s hand.  It’s a scary thought to realise we’re called to be Christ’s hands and feet.

God did not call us to fit into a set mould.  A mould never laid down in the Bible, moreover.

Christ didn’t tell his disciples to put the corn back for fear of upsetting the religious Jews.  Whilst I don’t want to cause another to stumble, neither should I be setting out to impress to everyone what a great Christian, or perfect daughter, I am. That shouldn’t be my aim.

I’m speaking against legalism: where obedience to a set law, not faith in God’s grace, is the main principle of redemption.  I am not speaking against living a life guided by the principles, even laws, Christ laid down in the Bible.  There is sin and we are called out of that.  I am not speaking against that.  I’m not saying we can carry on sinning because ‘hey, we’re under grace not the law so we can do as we please’.  That’s taught against in the Bible too.  What I am saying is let actions in your life be determined by what will please God, not by what will please a manmade, even Biblically shaped, law.

So the thing is:

Are we big enough to aim for maturity and godliness over the performance act of a ‘good Christian’?  I don’t want to be the girl I think other people want me to be.  I want to be looking up at my Daddy and judging my progress by the expression on His face.

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