Keep on playing by those rules

By Dave Henning / May 20, 2019

“Jesus came to free us from the weight of trying hard enough to be good enough.  I can keep on playing by those rules, . . .   But if I do, several things will happen — none of them good.  Broadly speaking, I’ll continue living in some ugly form of pride, wrapped up in pretty paper to look like righteousness.”- Kyle Idleman

“Are you tired?  Worn out?  Burned out on religion?  Come to me.  Get away with me and you’ll recover your life.  I’ll show you how to take a real rest.  Walk with me and work with me — watch how I do it.  Learn the unforced rhythms of grace.  I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you.  Keep company with me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly.”- Matthew 11:28-29 (MSG)

As Kyle Idleman continues Chapter 5 of Don’t Give Up, he talks about four distinct experiences likely to surface when you try to run while shouldering the weight of religion.

1.  I’ll grow frustrated.  When you try to do something you’re not capable of doing, frustration builds.  And that’s what makes religion, as Pastor Idleman defines it, so frustrating.  Hence, performance-based religion, Kyle notes, “bases life on impossible standards, makes you feel guilty for missing them, and leave you powerless to do anything about it.”

2.  I’ll feel exhausted.  Trying harder and harder, only to feel like you can never make it, tires you out.  However, it doesn’t always follow that the reality of your fatigue validates the worth of your struggle.

3.  I’ll act fake until I can’t fake it anymore.  As long as you can put on a good show, people assume making it happen.  But, sooner or later, pretense exhausts you.

4.  I’ll end up conceited or defeated.  Trying harder always leads to comparisons.  As a result, when you compare yourself to others, you feel either pride or failure.  Consequently, Kyle explains: “We’ll compare down and feel discouraged or compare up and feel defeated.  Either way, it’s just a matter of time until we become discouraged and quit or prideful and fall.”

Today’s question: Do you feel you must keep on playing by those rules of trying hard to be good?  Please share.

Tomorrow’s blog: “Stop being someone else’s person”

About the author

Dave Henning

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