Worried about your performance?

When thoughts like that entered the head of Martin Luther, he would return to his baptism. He would return to the promises of God. He would leave the place of uncertainty and doubt and go the place of assurance, the place where God had acted…for Martin Luther.

Thoughts of uncertainty (are we really doing what we ought to be doing, are we really serious about living a Jesus shaped life, are we really believers?) do come to us from time to time, if you are really a sinner.

If you are really a sinner, it would be quite normal to doubt, because you are at heart a ‘non truster’. A ‘non truster’ in God.

That is why God didn’t leave this thing up to you. That is why God took hold of the reins and tells us, “I’ll handle everything…just trust in Me.” That is why God baptised (yes God did the real baptising) you.

But since the law is written upon our hearts, and since ‘doing’ (to justify ourselves) is our default position, we do not trust God… by nature.

So if you seem to be not quite cutting it in the being faithful department, don’t worry about it. Worrying is the ultimate lack of trust in God, anyway (that’s why Jesus tells us not to do it).

If you are not quite cutting it, or if you are an absolute failure at cutting it…and you know it, you are actually right where you ought to be. If you think you are doing alright at being faithful, maybe not pefectly, but a lot better than your neighbor Joe who says he’s a Christian but gets drunk on Friday night and doesn’t go to church and watches football all day on Sunday…well, if you think like that…you’ve got a problem. A self-righteousness problem. A performance problem. A performance hang-up. And the performance that you are hung-up on, usually isn’t your own.

Jesus is after folks that know their need of Himself. Those that believe they are doing pretty well are like the Pharisee in the Temple that Jesus compares to the tax collector (scum). The scummy tax collector knew what he was and knew that he needed the mercy of God. The Pharisee was being faithful, doing all the prescibed works of the law, but his heart was far from God. He didn’t need God. This is the danger of preaching biblical principles for living. It waters down the law and creates modern day Pharisees. It creates self-righteous people. It creates phoney people. It drives people away from the one place that they might hear the gospel…some of them never again to return.

If you are worried about your performance you are worrying for nothing. Your performance stinks. You might be doing some good works and then again you might not. That is not the point. The point is that you have a Savior. You have someone who’s performance for you was perfect and it is finished. He has graciously decided to give to you new life through faith, and He has made that faith real for you in His Word…in preaching…in the Bible… in His sacraments… in the encouragement of one another.

When doubts come into my head via the world, my own sinful flesh, or the devil…I return once again to the font. To the place where my Lord and Savior Christ Jesus has acted for me…has adopted me…has made me His own.

Don’t worry…be happy!