The Seductive Power of "Performance"

I am in the planning stages of a new teaching series called "Mighty".

Because I want each of my teaching series to build upon other teachings, this post is going to tie "Mighty" to my other two pillars: "Breakthrough" and "The Five Fold."

Breakthrough starts with lessons learned from King David who found him trapped by the Philistines. Like a "flood", God rescues him in surprising ways. The core lesson is that God's breakthrough is not "self-help" -- the work harder, pray harder, try harder approach to life -- nor is it "wishful thinking" which throws ones hands up and expects God to be the magical genie.

Instead, this "third way" actually starts with some unusual premise.

One that is central (but I am starting to see I may need to develop more clearly) is the notion of God has gone "before" you in your state of being "stuck." The meaning is two-fold: the source of all "stuckness" is our "sin," and Christ has gone ahead of us by going to the cross for us. It means he has anticipated and accounted for it, leading the way into the Kingdom as our foregone conclusion through faith alone.

This doesn't need to be anything mystical. But it does need a change in thinking.

The second part of my teaching is very counter-cultural, and it says to look at your own hidden "Dead End Drivers." This is different from common practice to affirm that you are okay and the answer lies within you. My teaching says that the path to getting unstuck does lie within you -- and it isn't some hidden power you have -- it's in the blindspots you need to face.

The freedom which comes from that begins to unlock the change and growth, which I then teach in the section on "Catalysts."

In my teaching on Spiritual Gifts and Purpose, I continue the thread on Dead End Drivers by including a section on how we all have certain sins that reveal our spiritual gifts. That process of redemption come from first identifying our gifts and leaning into the Christ-like expression of those.

The ultimate outcome becomes a life of purpose through your gifts.

These two come together and find high-intensity application in "Mighty" which is focusing on men experiencing "high-performance" demands of career and work.

Some men avoid high-performance out of fear of rejection or failure, and lure themselves into false contentment; other men appear to "thrive" on the adrenaline of high-performance, but miss out on the rest, grace, and Kingdom impact for the empty seductions of secular reward and recognition.

I believe that addressing the often-time soul-crushing nature of high-performance work for men is a critical one, and is the next step in building up a foundation of solid teaching on the Gospel.

Like the other two areas -- getting "unstuck" and finding your "purpose" -- there are myths which need to be dismantled.

The.primary myths I tackle in "MIghty" are the false allure of success being the same as Godliness, and the slow adoption of performance culture from work into our spiritual life.

Christ was both a committed, purposeful "builder" of the Kingdom, the ultimate "cornerstone," but also the one to free the world from the binding law of performance.

I believe, although it is difficult, there are ways to navigate high-performance careers and still life a life soaked in Christ's grace. It's super hard. But it is essential.

Some ideas that I have been exploring and jotting down are the following:

What do you think?

Do you agree that the high-performance pressures on men's careers is a high-priority?

That without facing it with truth and grace, men can slowly find themselves sacrificing their families and their soul on the altar of high-performance and receiving nothing in return?

That men are seeking a better way to both thrive and find contentment in their jobs and career while building the Kingdom as God designed?

That these high-pressured careers can be a crucible to forge hope in Christ by helping us face our deepest sins and find redemption, not through more hard work, but through rest and faith in the only hard work that matters, which is death on the cross?

Let me know!

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