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What if I Stumble

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Sometimes my spirit tells on me without my mind realizing it. In the last two weeks, my spirit has done it twice before I realized what was going on. The first was the other day when I was talking to John about a CD I’d heard. I told him, “The part where you said performance is blasphemy really hit me.” But he replied, “I never said that; I said effort is blasphemy.” Later he added, “I think your spirit is telling you on you.” The second way is that I’ve been on the song What if I Stumble by DC Talk. In particular the following line:

“Will the love continue when my walk becomes a crawl?
What if I stumble and what if I fall?”

I absolutely love this song  – I think it’s so honest and transparent. In the song, I’m not sure if the fear is over the love from God or people disappearing. But in my heart, there’s a fear of both because my life has been all about performance. If I perform well in sports, work, relationships or even my relationship with God, I feel I earn approval and love. Performance can be a major source of pride but it’s also a taxing stress. Living by the law of performance is an exhausting burden because I will inevitably fail. So when I was successful in sports, work, relationships, or felt I had a “good day” with God, it was almost a relief. It was like, “Well, today I didn’t fail.” If I thought I had committed a “really bad” sin, I felt I couldn’t go to Him until I had proved I deserved His love again. I’ve always had this nagging fear that I was just one sin away from forever losing His love. This is one of the reasons I tried to master theology and the Bible. I thought it proved my worth to Him when I tried to master knowledge.

So some weeks ago, I was listening to Martha’s excellent teaching series Conquered by the Blood (also see John’s post). In it she quotes William Booth, founder of the Salvation Army, who said he anticipated a day when there would be a bloodless Christianity. Martha showed how the Laodicean Church was a bloodless Church. They had no need of the blood because they believed in their knowledge. As I was listening, I realized I was a bloodless Christian. I’ve cheapened and blasphemed the blood by doubting its perfect cleansing power. When I live by the law of performance, I’m saying the blood’s not enough, or at least enough for my mess.

So will the love continue if I don’t perform? Well, it was never given on the basis of my performance to begin with. The problem has never been my mess, great as I think it is, but my attempt to fix it. The blood is every solution to my mess when I come in the raw, naked reality of who I am. My pathway to the Father has never been on the grounds of performance. It is perfectly rooted in the finished work of His Son. Performance is blasphemy, so I am surrendering my desire to perform and trusting He will build me on the sure foundation of Christ’s finished work.

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