Having a performance-based mindset will certainly prevent you from living in peace. You cannot rest in your heart if you’re constantly wondering if you’re doing enough. “Am I enough?” “Am I doing the right thing?” “Am I doing enough of the right thing?” “Have I done something wrong that I need to make right? Many Christians live their lives on the hamster wheel of performance, feeling like they’re not good enough. If we’re operating under the law, then we’re operating under a performance-based mentality of “I need to do more… I need to be perfect…” I used to live under a mindset like this where I felt like I needed to jump through hoops in order to be closer to God, please God or even appease God. I felt like I needed to jump through hoops faster, worship louder, serve more, give more etc. I just felt like I was never good enough for God. The good news is that we are good enough for God because of what Jesus has done for us. Through faith in Jesus and what He’s done for us, we are made right with God. We are justified; made perfect; just-as-if-we’ve-never-sinned. And because of that we are acceptable to God. We are pleasing to God. God’s not holding anything against us. But if you choose to live under the performance-based mentality it’ll just make you sick. It’s not going to help you at all. When you’re living under the law, you are living under a very long and impossible to-do-list. You’re living under the idea or mentality that you need to do a whole list of things before God can love you or accept you or bless you. But the good news is we’re not living under the law; we’re living under grace. Romans 6:14b says that “…you are not under law, but under grace.” We are not obliged to operate under or to obey the law.
Grace means that you get treated better than you deserve. We need to reject all performance-based mentality that we have and embrace His grace – His undeserved, unearned and unmerited favour! You will never live in perfect peace as long as you are living under the law. If you’re living under the law (under the burden of what do you need to do for God instead of under the blessing of what has He done for you through Jesus) then it’s going to bring a lot of problems in your life.
2 Corinthians 3:6 New King James Version (NKJV)
Who also made us sufficient as ministers of the new covenant, not of the letter but of the Spirit; for the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life.
This is contrasting between the old and new covenant; the law and grace. It says that we are able ministers of the new covenant of grace, not of the letter – not of the law; The 10 Commandments. We are not ministers of what you should do for God but ministers of what He has done for us! We are ministers of the spirit. The letter (the law) kills, but the spirit gives life. You’re, if you’re preaching the law or if you’re trying to live under the law all you’re doing is living under or ministering a death sentence which will produce condemnation, guilt, and shame, which brings death in your relationship with God. Your relationship with God will never be as good as it could be. You’re going to experience death in your finances, in your health and in your life in general. You’ll never win when you live under law because you’ll never be good enough no matter how hard you try!
2 Corinthians 3:9 New King James Version (NKJV)
For if the ministry of condemnation had glory, the ministry of righteousness exceeds much more in glory.
The old covenant was a ministry of condemnation whereas the new covenant is a ministry of righteousness. You could never become righteousness under the old covenant. The new covenant is a ministry of telling us how, right we are with God, not how we need to be right with God. And, if you’re under the ministry of condemnation, it’s going to bring death in your life but if you’re under the ministry of grace, then it’s going to bring freedom, life and perfect peace.
You need to realize this: As a Christian, when you make a mistake and sin, you’re still 100% righteous. You’re not going to be punished for what you’ve done wrong (ever) because Jesus took your punishment. You’ve got to get out of a performance-based mentality where you expect to be punished by God when you do wrong. It will never happen. And when you do right or something good, you need to realize that it’s not going to make God love or bless you more. God treats us better than we deserve and not as we deserve! He is not treating you according to your performance but according to your faith in the finished work of Christ for you!
If we want to live in and experience perfect peace we’ve got to uproot legalism right out of our lives. We’ve got to start expecting to be treated better than we deserve (grace) and not expect to get treated as we deserve (mercy). We’ve got to stop relating to God according to the 10 commandments and according to how well we’re doing as Christians because God loves us just the same on our best days as on our worst days.
2 Corinthians 5:17 New King James Version (NKJV)
Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new.
2 Corinthians 5:21 New King James Version (NKJV)
For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.
Hebrews 10:10 New Living Translation (NLT)
For God’s will was for us to be made holy by the sacrifice of the body of Jesus Christ, once for all time.
When we’re living under condemnation, guilt, and shame it’s as if we’re sentencing ourselves or condemning ourselves and telling ourselves we’re not worthy to receive what Jesus died to give us. This is how we prevent ourselves from walking in the blessing and favour of God. If we want to walk in the blessing and the favour of God and experience His love and goodness then we need to accept God’s opinion of ourselves and not our opinion of ourselves, or anyone else’s opinion of ourselves. God’s opinion of us is that we’re in Christ and we’re perfect. We’re 100% righteous, 100% of the time. We’re acceptable to Him. And it’s not based on our performance, it’s based on His performance and our faith in what He has done for us.