“Grace is not opposed to effort; it’s opposed to earning.” – Dallas Willard
“Choose to see God, yourself, and others the way God does, asking Him to reveal your identity to your mind and heart.” – Christian Bosse
“When your image improves, your performance improves.” – Zig Ziglar
So much of what we feel and experience in this world is counter to the essence of who we truly are. Because those feelings and experiences surround us continually, we are often blinded to deeper truths that impact the quality, influence, and substance of our lives. A great example of this can be found in the concept of earning.
Of course, earning correlates with performance and performance with accomplishment. We must earn a living, earn our way, earn the love and admiration of others, and earn respect.
What we earn is strictly up to how much effort we exert. Earning places an emphasis on individual performance. What we earn and how much we earn has a direct influence on our self-concept and self-image. We judge ourselves harshly based on our earnings and so do others.
But like any other type of performance, we are often evaluated on how well it’s sustained and repeated – if it’s constant and continuous. We cannot earn our way one day and not the next. Earning the love and respect of someone we cherish isn’t hit or miss. Our supervisor at work expects continual effort and sustained performance. Our spouses, children, and friends expect us to earn their love and affection every day – not occasionally or sporadically. Unfortunately, earning seems to be a perpetual part of our existence.
Here is what makes the concept of earning even more difficult. Not only are we judged on how well it is sustained and continually repeated, but we are also constantly held to the “What have you done for me lately?” standard.
Have you felt the pressures associated with earning your way in your job and in your relationships? Does it seem like all you have earned over time pales in comparison to what you have done lately – the results you have produced right now in this moment? How has what you have earned and accomplished affected your self-esteem, your pride, and your self-respect?
The world is filled with expectations and judgements, but how does God feel about what you have earned? Does He ask, “What have you done for me lately?” or do you feel a need to earn His respect and favor like that of a spouse or friend or supervisor?
You see…. Here are the deeper truths we are often blinded to as I mentioned earlier:
- There is nothing we must earn as it has already been earned for us.
- Our value (and the value of others) is based on who we are as a child of God – not on the status of what we have individually accomplished or earned by our own efforts.
- The concept of earning is based in self-pride and self-reliance – thinking our own efforts are what earn us the favor and admiration of others. When we embrace this line of thinking, we hold others to the same standard – believing they must earn our respect and love by how they perform.
Sadly, even religious institutions promote the idea of earning favor from God by righteous acts and duties we must perform. This contradicts and undermines the truth behind grace – the undeserved and unearned favor God mercifully provides for each of us 😊
If you get nothing else out of reading this today, please see this important truth: The world demands we earn our value through our behaviors. God asks us to see our value in Him and the grace He gives us each day – not through individual effort.
Ironically when we embrace these truths, valuable behaviors pour out of us as a result – affecting not only our own lives but the lives of others. As Zig Ziglar mentions above, when we humbly see the true image of ourselves, our performance improves 😊
When we see our value in God, we become more valuable. When we experience His grace, we extend it to ourselves and others. When we humbly realize we can’t possibly earn favor, we don’t expect others to earn ours – loving them in a deeper, more meaningful way.
The world expects us to earn it FIRST. God wants us first and foremost to see our value in Him and all He has earned for us. He wants us to experience His grace – His favor that is unearned and undeserved – extending that grace to others.
When we do, what results LAST is a healthy self-concept, treasured relationships, and a peaceful life filled with grace my friend 😊
Stop earning and start living in the light of who you truly are! God bless!