Wednesday, August 17, 2022

Striving to Prove Our Value

Wednesday, August 17, 2022  Some material taken from The Bondage of False Guilt

For what I am doing, I do not understand; for I am not practicing what I would like to do, but I am doing the very thing I hate. Romans 7:15 

Striving to Prove Our Value

Yesterday we talked about how an overactive conscience can cause you to have false guilt. An overactive conscience can keep you in a state of constant uncertainty and wear you out physically, emotionally, and spiritually. You never know if you measure up – and you never feel like you do. You never know if you have arrived or not – and you never feel like you have. You are always on the alert. 

According to Steve Shores there are a number of Major Consequences of False Guilt. 

Striving without Arriving But whatever things were gain to me, those things I have counted as loss for the sake of Christ. Philippians 3:7  

The definition of striving from the Merriam Webster Dictionary is: 1) to devote serious effort or energy to as in to endeavor to accomplish something and 2) to struggle in opposition or to contend. When we are striving in an overactive conscience we are devoting everything – every thought and ounce of energy to accomplish something, be included, be accepted, or feel worthy enough. In essence, there is no hope in the system set up by the overactive conscience. You always feel the need to try harder, but you never arrive. You spiral downward but you may never even hit bottom. You just keep trying to be better and to do better but never achieve it.  

Constant Vigilance Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:6-7

Much like striving without arriving, an overactive conscience also leads to constant self-monitoring. You may be constantly questioning whether or not you are valuable to God and others around you. You may be constantly evaluating and even doubting your performance. And you never allow yourself to be a liability to the group or to any particular individual. You are always on guard.

Taking the Pack Mule Approach to Life Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light. Matthew 11:28-30

When we have an overactive conscience, we are always trying to prove our worth, so we are continuously gathering proof that we are good enough. This consists of accumulating enough evidence to prove you are enough. This may look like taking on more duties, more responsibilities, more roles, and as they pile higher and higher, you become a "pack mule" who takes on more responsibility than is healthy or necessary. And there is never enough evidence in your eyes. 

Religiously Righteous Believers

False guilt affects not just individuals but also the body of Christ. Christians who struggle with an overactive conscience can produce weak, hollow, compliant, judgmental believers in the church. 

All about following the rules and conforming, they lack passion and depth. Going to church becomes one more thing they do to prove worth and value. They don’t usually crave fellowship or spiritual growth, but go to church, study the Bible, pray, and even serve because that is what they are “supposed to do” as Christians – and to fit in and be compliant. 

We don’t have to live this way. It is a process and help may be needed to find the way out. The first step is trusting God, that He is who He says He is. When we believe that God is who He says He is, then we believe that He loves us and accepts us unconditionally. There is nothing we can do to prove ourselves to Him because He never asks that of us. Also, there is no way we could ever do enough to be worthy of God’s love, mercy, grace, and redemption. We can never be “good enough” for that. He gave us all that freely, as a gift, because He loves us. He filled in all the gaps – all the places we don’t measure up. He measures up perfectly in every way. He only wants us to accept the gift He gives and abide in Him. No striving, no vigilance, no baggage, and no conformity. Lay the overactive conscience aside and find rest and peace by trusting in Him. 


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