In the last post I introduced the Cycle of Motivation-Condemnation-Rededication. We’ve seen that the root of this cycle-issue is the false belief that says, “God expects you to please Him by living the Christian life.” While the truth is that God is not expecting you to live a Christ-like life, but that He invites you to allow Christ to live His Christ-life through you! That’s a BIG difference.
I’ve made a video of this blogpost, but this time using the visual aid of a flip chart to make things more understandable for you.
Watch the Complete Message in This Video:
They key to break free from the cycle
The key to breaking out of of this motativation-condemnation-rededication cycle, is to realize that you’ve been co-crucified with Christ and you no longer live.
I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me. (Gal. 2:20)
Yourself cannot live the Christian life. Only Christ can live the Christian life and He wants to live His life through you. The question is: do you see Him as your all-sufficiency? Do you see Him as your life, strength, health, wisdom, holiness, love, peace, and everything else?
The Christian life is not a set of rules or expectations; it is Christ Himself expressing through you.
The reason why many of us have struggled with condemnation and rededication is because we have focused on our performance more than on Jesus Christ.
We’ve tried to live up to self-imposed requirements and tried to keep our promises, but effective Christian living doesn’t come by trying. It comes by trusting Christ to express His life through us.
You need to realize that you can’t keep your promises. Only Jesus Christ can successfully keep promises and live the perfect life. He lives in you and wants to reveal His promises and perfect life through you.
God doesn’t want you to stand on your promises to Him, but on His promises to you.
Before we can be effective promise keepers, we must become promise receivers.
If you believe your Grace walk is based on your promises to God rather than His promises to you, you’re living under the law. Let God down and you will need to make new promises and work harder to keep them. Where is the peace and security in this? There is none.
To stand on your promises leads to strive, unrest and insecurity. To stand on God’s promises, however, produces restful trust, peace and security.
No more condemnation
The moment you rely on your promise keeping you’ve set yourself up to experience condemnation. You might start out “strong” but sooner than later you’ll fail in keeping your promises leaving you with a nagging sense of condemnation.
You are in Christ. There is no condemnation for those who are in Christ (Rom. 8:1). “No Condemnation” becomes reality for you when you shift your focus from your performance unto Christ.
As you look to Christ you’ll see your true self as in a mirror because you are one with Him (2 Cor. 3:18, 1 Cor. 6:17).
Everything that’s true about Him is true about you (1 John 4:17).
You are as righteous as He is (2 Cor. 5:21).
To “be righteous” means that you have become all that you are meant to be. That means there’s no gap between where you ought to be and where you are because already have (not “will”) become all that you are meant to be.
Rest in your identity in Christ!
No need for rededication
Because God isn’t expecting you to make promises to do better and to do more, rededication to keep promises is as silly as to throw gasoline on fire. It doesn’t extinguish the fire, it only makes it flare up more.
Rededication to keep promises only makes you sign up for another miserable ride on the famous flesh-empowered cycle of motivation-condemnation-rededication.
There is no need to rededicate yourself to God. You may want to do it as a public expression of your faith, but do it as a celebration, not as a gesture to try to do better or to do more “good” works.
Living by faith means to understand you already are a beloved child of God. And there’s no need to try to do any better than that! You are who you are. You don’t try to become who you already are.
You are God’s beloved. God will never love you any more than He already does. Likewise, He will never be more pleased with you then He already is. God loves you and is pleased with you independent of your performance.
Christ is God’s pleasure. You are in Christ, God’s pleasure. Therefore, you’re effortlessly pleasing to Him.
Fully forgiven of all sins – past, present and future sins
Rededication prayers often sound like, “I’m so sorry, I want to ask Your forgiveness for….how I’ve failed You in my Christian life.”
Under the law, forgiveness was conditional. You had to forgive others or ask God for forgiveness to be forgiven.
Under grace, however, you are totally forgiven of all sins, including your future sins. Remember, God is not restricted by time. When Jesus died for our sins 2000 years ago, they were all future sins.
Jesus did not bring us an opportunity to have our sins forgiven. He forgave all.
Your forgiveness is a free gift. No strings attached. No conditions to meet. In other words, it’s unnecessary to forgive others or continuously ask God for forgiveness in order to be forgiven.
You’ve already been forgiven once for all. I’m not saying to not forgive people. As Colossians 3:13 says, we forgive others because we have been forgiven – not to be forgiven.
Where is your focus if remaining in a state of forgiveness depends on you constantly asking to be forgiven. On you or Christ? Your focus would be on yourself, all the time. It’s not only hard enough to keep up with the wrong things you might have done, but what about the things you didn’t do which you should’ve been doing?
You understand that if we had to seek forgiveness for the bad we do or the good we fail to do we would not get of our knees since we would need to continuously beg for forgiveness due to the weakness of our flesh. Talking about mission impossible!
If all future sin are already forgiven, wouldn’t people just go and sin their brains out? No, it has actually the opposite effect. When we see yourself as forgiven, loved, holy, clean and new creations in God’s sight and we set our minds on that fact, the love of Christ expands within us and He motivates us and empowers us towards a Christ-like life.
You behave according to what you truly believe about yourself.
You will live godly, not because of disciplined determination, but because that is how you want to live – it is who you are – and because freedom from condemnation opens the door to God’s power as the driving force behind your actions.
You will not act out of good intentions and your promise keeping, but from your true identity.
To sum up
Your Grace walk is not about your best willpower, self effort or determination. That will only put your into the vicious cycle of motivation → condemnation → rededication.
The way to get off this spiritual roller coaster is to shift your focus from self-sufficiency to Christ-sufficiency. Instead of being on a flesh-trip preoccupied with self-effort, you want to be on a Jesus-trip preoccupied with Christ and His effort on your behalf.
Your job is not to live for God, but to allow God to live through you. Likewise, your job is not to produce fruit, but to bear His fruit.
Meanwhile understand that you can do nothing to please God, but that you already are His pleasure.
In short, we’re either trying or trusting – and God prefers we trust in Him and allow Jesus to live through us.
As you do, you’ll break the vicious cycle by resting in the loving arms of your Father.
Question: what do you recognize from this cycle in your own life? Share your thoughts, by clicking here.