Posted in Galatians

Have You Gone Back to Performance?

“You foolish Galatians! Who has bewitched you? Before your very eyes Jesus Christ was clearly portrayed as crucified. I would like to learn just one thing from you: Did you receive the Spirit by the works of the law, or by believing what you heard? Are you so foolish? After beginning by means of the Spirit, are you now trying to finish by means of the flesh? Have you experienced so much in vain-if it really was in vain? So again I ask, does God give you his Spirit and work miracles among you by the works of the law, or by your believing what you heard? Galatians 3:1-5

The Galatian Christians started well, but at some point retreated from “grace through faith” living back to, “trying to be good enough for God,” living. Are you there as well? Here are some symptoms:

  1. You find you are no longer focused on what Jesus did for you on the cross. You punish yourself instead of accepting His forgiveness easily, and find it hard to forgive others who have hurt you.
  2. Your focus is more on your discipline than on the Spirit’s power. You are more conscious of what you’re doing for Him than what He is doing in and through you.
  3. The miracles and the sense of the supernatural are gone. There is no awe, no wonder, and no surprise any more. Jesus said there should be rivers flowing from our inmost being, but you feel like you are plugged up, and anything spiritual is hard.
  4. You struggle to believe God loves you; Jesus died for you; and that God wants you to be with Him more than anything else.

If you see yourself in this list let me give you a few practical things to do. First, repent, and ask God to forgive you for going back into performance based religion. Take time to thank Him again for His love, for the cross and for the grace He wants to lavish upon you. Then ask for a fresh filling of the Holy Spirit in simple faith and tell Him you want to be near Jesus. Wait quietly in His presence, stilling every other distraction, and let Him fill you to overflowing. Repeat as necessary.


Pastor at City Church in Madison, Wisconsin