Bible Reading: 2 Corinthians 5:21
God made Christ, who never sinned, to be the offering for our sin, so that we could be made right with God through Christ. 2 Corinthians 5:21
YOU MAY HAVE heard of PDA (personal digital assistant — or public display of affection), PBJ (peanut butter and jelly), and PDQ (pretty darn quick). But have you ever heard of PBA (performance-based acceptance)? Probably not. But you can figure out what it is and recognize the feelings it causes. It’s the lie that our worth is based on what we do, not who we are.
PBA often starts at home. Did you ever show your parents your grades, and instead of bragging about the five B’s you got, they start nagging about the one C? Or they start in with comments like, “Why can’t you be like your older sister? She never…” You go away thinking that your only hope of being accepted is to do better. You’re being hit with performance-based acceptance. It’s PBA.
The great thing about belonging to God is that you don’t have to be a whiz at anything to get him to like you. Jesus has already performed perfectly for you. When you became a Christian, he took your failures and gave you his sinlessness (see 2 Corinthians 5:21). God sees the perfection Christ provided for you.
That makes it okay to fail, because you can be sure that God won’t reject you. That means you can stretch to reach your full potential, because he accepts you unconditionally. That means you can truly find out what you’re capable of, because he frees you to try-and to fall on your face.
And when you succeed, it doesn’t matter if you don’t get all the credit. You may want the credit because you have bought into the PBA lie. And in the back of your brain, you think you need people to like you and think you’re special because you don’t feel special. But as you realize your true value to God, you can yank yourself out of that mucked-up thinking. You can put your focus back on the God who loves and accepts you just as you are.
If you never succeeded at another task, Christ would still accept you. He doesn’t sit up in heaven tabulating points on your performance each day. There is no quota of goodie-goodie points you have to reach for him to accept you.
You want to excel at what you do. But you already have God’s love and approval. Like Colossians 3:23-24 says, “Work hard and cheerfully at whatever you do, as though you were working for the Lord rather than for people. Remember that the Lord will give you an inheritance as your reward.”
REFLECT: God accepts you totally because you are righteous in him. How does that make you feel?
PRAY: Tell God about times you doubt he accepts you-and thank him that he really does.