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When Your Performance Is Not Enough to Be Content
Achieving peak performance in our lives is not enough to make us content. No matter how gifted we might be, true contentment cannot be found in our performance. The world grades us and gives us value according to our performance. In contrast, the Bible says we are created by God in His image and He shows His unmerited love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us (Gen. 1:27; Romans 5:8). The path to contentment, peace and joy is discovered only through faith (Romans 15:13).
As people of God who have received the right to become children of God by believing in Christ, we still need to remind ourselves that God is the source of our gifts. We also need to make sure that we use our gifts to do good to others as part of our calling in loving both God and our neighbour (Mark 12:30-31).
“Do not be deceived, my beloved brothers. 17 Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change” – (James 1:16-17)
According to James if we deny the fact that God is the source of our gifts we are being deceived. Each and every one of us have been given gifts from God to serve others for His glory (1 Peter 4:10).
We are to discover and use our giftings in community for the purpose of benefiting others and honoring Christ. In the same way that we bear the fruit of the Holy Spirit for others to enjoy, we also have God given gifts to benefit others and glorify God.
It’s important to recognize that just solely finding out what you are gifted at is not enough to cause you to be content or fulfill your calling in life. When we look around and we will find many gifted people who understand they are gifted but are still not happy with life.
Human beings are first and foremost called to turn to God in repentance and belief in Christ so that we might have a reconciled relationship with our Creator, others, self and the rest of creation (Mark 1:15; 2 Cor. 5:17-19). This is the foundation for a contented life and we cannot achieve it through our own effort, but by God’s grace and through faith in Christ.
Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away. Behold, the new has come! 18 All this is from God, who reconciled us to Himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation: 19 that God was reconciling the world to Himself in Christ, not counting men’s trespasses against them. And He has committed to us the message of reconciliation. – 2 Cor. 5:17-19
Having a reconciled relationship with God through Christ is key for human contentment; regardless of any and every great human achievement and performance, our soul cannot rest or find satisfaction until we experience God’s saving grace.
Appreciate and use the gift God has given you, but avoid the following traps:
1. Trap of comparison: Comparing your gifts to others
2. Trap of pride: Thinking your gifts make you better than others
3. Trap of idolatry: worshipping your gift or others for their gifting
The world puts pressure on us to use our gifts for self-centered reasons. To gain status, wealth and fame. The world tells us to promote our giftedness in order that we may receive praise for our accomplishments, like we are the sole source of these giftings. God calls His children to humbly recognize Him as their provider and sustainer and to serve others in order to bring honour to His name. We are created by an infinitely creative God in order that we might magnify Him by using our gifts to make Him look great. We are “…God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them…” – Eph. 2:10
Thus, true contentment comes first and foremost through a reconciled relationship with God through faith in Christ and not from our own performance or achievements. We also develop contentment as children of God by discovering our God given gifts, developing our gifts by using them to serve others in our community and continually dedicating our gifts to God for His work on earth.