“Do well in school! Behave yourself! Do your best. Eat your vegetables.” Did you hear statements like that? Did you believe, “if I perform well then I have value?” I did. This lie affected me for years.
I felt I mattered when I was doing well in baseball, which meant playing well, winning, making the all-star team. In Boy Scouts I earned all the Skill Awards so my belt would look full. “Surely someone will think I worked hard,” I reasoned. The same was true for school, and other parts of life. I believed I had to do well to be successful. Do to be.
I would guess that when you are doing well at work, making the good paycheck, getting that promotion, then you feel alright. But if you don’t deliver then you feel like a loser. When my kids are behaving, it’s easy to think, “I’m a decent parent.” If they are bad, “my spouse is a bad parent!”
We often judge how we ARE, by how we are DOING. Don’t get me wrong; what we do is very important.
10 For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do. Ephesians 2:10 (NIV)
I really struggled with how to communicate: what we do is important. What we do does NOT totally define us. As I wrestled with these two sides of the same truth, I feel God gave me a visual illustration to help explain this fine balance.
Forest Gump said, “Life is like a box of chocolates” I think like is like a Fruit Basket.
Do you ever feel like a basket case? A bit fruity? I do from time to time, especially when I view life in this first way.
1. “Life is about what I do.” You think, “I am judged by how I perform”
Apple – this could represent work. You may even work with an Apple computer. Any new person you meet will ask, “so what do you DO?” We judge each other by our work.
Orange – this could represent your marriage. People look at how you are doing there. The common question, “How many years have your been married?” We judge marriages as, “good or bad.”
Banana – Parenting: Your kids are monkeys right! They drive you bananas! How we perform as parents is on display no question.
You could add other things in the basket, such as how you DO with money, friends, hobbies, or spirituality. Your life of doing that is one view, or the better view….
2. Life is about what God says. You are more than what you’ve done. You more than what you do. You are more than what you will do. You are who God says you are. Let’s look at each fruit differently:
Banana – God created you. He’s bananas about you! He made you in His image -Genesis 1:27 . You are fearfully and wonderfully made – Psalm 139:14. He put you together piece by piece – Psalm 139:13. You are his masterpiece – Ephesians 2:10. You are his child – 1 John 3:1
When is the last time that you reflected on the fact that you are God’s creation? No one else is made like you. You are His masterpiece, His child.
Apple – We all ate from the forbidden fruit of the garden (like Adam or Eve). That’s the bad news, the good news? God redeemed you! This means he paid your ransom. If you want to know the value of something just watch what someone will pay. God paid a great price to set you free – I Peter 1:18-19 He sent Christ to die in your place- Galatians 3:13.
Have you admitted you bit the apple (sinned) and asked Jesus to be your redeemer? If so, have you been so busy doing and doing that you forget to absorb all that it means to have a God who loved you so much he paid your ransom?
When I mistakenly think life is just about doing, I become a human DOING, not a human being. God says, “Be still and know that I am God – Psalm 46:10 When I take time to reflect that I am God’s creation, that I have been redeemed at a great cost, then I can BE. Be still before God. Be whole, be healthy and be balanced.
Our being (His Creation, His Child, His Redeemed) should direct our doing. Now we can talk about doing.
Orange – You were created for a purpose. You have put on this planet to do the things he created for you – Ephesians 2:10. This includes the job he has for you, marriage, and parenting as well being a vital part in the body of Christ (involved in a church).
If you are stressed all the time with too much to do; it’s very likely that you doing more than God would have you to do.
Trying to do too much is also indicates that you are trying to please too many people. Life should be lived for an audience of one (Christ). Do it all for Him and you will have just enough time for His will.
And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus… Colossians 3:17
To learn more on this subject or about letting God decide what you do and don’t do, check out Sunday’s message, Lies You Believe – You are What You Do: www.ridgefellowship.com/messages/singlesermon/10118.html