Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Good Job!


Romans 11:6
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 a few, some, a LOT of mistakes along the way.  One of these blunders, which is recently called to my attention here, is the use of the seemingly innocuous accolade:  Good job!

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." 

Amen!

~



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!

14 comments:

  1. We hunger for approval, and look everywhere for it except the one place we'll find it.

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  2. As you said, when we understand grace we will realize we can't make God love us more or bless us more than He already has promised. God requires faith - not works.

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    Replies
    1. Amen, Carol, faith, not works!
      Love and blessings!

      Delete
  3. Martha, you are correct in what you have shared here. It's so easy to fall into the trap of performing to gain approval--God's approval, the approval of important others. Thankfully, God has a much different view of things and of us. Having a "performance orientation" can lead to a "works" mentality, leaving God out.

    Love and Blessings!

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    Replies
    1. Yes, that performance trap can definitely lead to a "works" mentality, Kim. It is such a relief to know God loves us just as we are.
      Love and blessings!

      Delete
  4. so true. I read the other day that all humans share the same two basic fears: of not being enough and not being accepted/loved. Someday we won't struggle with that any more

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    Replies
    1. Amen, Jean! One day, that struggle will truly be over.
      Love and blessings!

      Delete
  5. Parenting is not for the faint of heart, is it! I look back and wonder how I did it ... and then I remember Who did it through me, for me, with me.

    And I am so very grateful ...

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    Replies
    1. I agree absolutely, Linda, that parenting is not for sissies. :) Without God's help, I know I never would have made it through as well as I did.
      Love and blessings!

      Delete
  6. So easy to fall into that habit as a parent, isn't it? I have to consciously make myself work grace (and the explanation of it) into the equation, but it's so important! Great thoughts, Martha. So happy God doesn't just look at our performance as a basis of anything.

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    Replies
    1. Yes, Jason, it is all too easy to slip into that performance/praise mode with our children. It really made me think if I told my kids enough that I love them just because they are who they are. Since they turned out to be loving adults, I guess God helped me to do something right.
      Love and blessings!

      Delete
  7. I'm guilty of having a performance based mentality with God. This book is helping rest in His grace.
    I fear sometimes that I will pass on this performance mentality to my kids. Thanks for helping me see how the innocent words, good job, can reinforce that mindset. I'll need to spend time in prayer to help me communicate better with my kids. Any suggestions on what I should say to replace "good job"?

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    Replies
    1. TC, if you click on the link I provided in this post, it will give you some positive alternatives to use with your kids. Sure wish I had had that information early on. I still catch myself telling my grandchildren "good job" and have to redirect myself. Shared this with my daughter just this weekend so we can work together to get over this performance tendency.
      Glad you're reading the book, too!
      Love and blessings!

      Delete

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