And if by grace, then it cannot be based on works; if it were, grace would no longer be grace.
It doesn't take a rocket scientist to tell us how difficult parenting can be. When my children are growing up, I make
Why, you ask, should parents avoid saying good job to their children if, indeed, they have done particularly well at a particular task? There are two reasons: 1) It doesn't show engagement with the activity, only a reaction to it, and 2) it is praise based on the child's performance. While some of you may still be thinking there is nothing inherently wrong with that, it can become an addictive tool in the hands of a child. He or she sees that what is done and done right earns parental praise, so strives to perform (or out-perform for the Type A) just to feel accepted and loved.
In Chapter Five of The Discipline of Grace, author, Larry Bridges, writes: "We are performance oriented by nature, and our culture and sometimes our upbringing reinforces this legalistic mind-set. All too often a child's acceptance by his or her parent is based on the child's performance, and this certainly tends to be true in our society. We carry this same type of thinking into our relationship with God. So, whether it is our response to God's discipline of us or our practice of those spiritual disciplines that are so good and helpful, we tend to think it is the 'law' of God rather than the grace of God that disciplines us."
We can, and too often do, as Christians, mistakenly suppose that our good jobs in this world will make God love us even more. Impossible! Because God already loves us immeasurably. We can do nothing to add to or detract from His great love.
But because we have God's salvation through grace, that grace, in turn, flows through us, convicting us to do good works in His name and for His glory. It is a discipline that encourages us to move forward in faith, and shapes us to become more and more like Jesus every day.
God's grace will change us for the better when we submit our wills, fully and unconditionally, to His.
We will no longer crave to hear those two little word, good job. Instead, we will rest in the promise found in Philippians 1:6 " . . . he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus."
For the next eight weeks, I will be participating in a study of Jerry Bridges' The Discipline of Grace. It is led by fellow Christian bloggers, Jason Stasyszen and Sarah Salter, who welcome you to read the book along with us and join in on the discussion. Hope to see you back here next Wednesday. God bless!