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Position over Performance

me-turaIf you follow me on social media, you probably know we had to put down our beloved boxer named Tura on Monday (this is why I didn’t post that day).

Knowing the day was fast approaching, we tried to go out on Saturday to the country where my Grandpa has many acres and a lake but we got rained out. We wanted one more chance to make a lasting memory with her so we braved the heat and humidity to go out Sunday evening.

Even in her advancing illness, she still wanted to take off chasing after cows or run down the path. She was bred to be a hunter so chasing is just in her. Still, she would us call her name and would (mostly) reconsider and return to our side. When some in the group got behind, she would stand and look at them to make sure they were okay and still coming.

She was a sweet, loyal, and faithful friend who will be greatly missed around our house, but why am I bringing all this up in a discussion about Jerry Bridges’ book, The Discipline of Grace? Because my dearly departed canine friend lived something God has been drilling into me lately: love and blessing has everything to do with position and little to do with performance.

My dog loved wholeheartedly and knew her place in our family. If you don’t struggle with knowing you are a true son or daughter of God, you won’t struggle so much with trying to tie your performance to the love you’re able or willing to receive.

When our sense of guilt is taken away because our consciences are cleansed by the blood of Christ, we are freed up to love Him with all our hearts and souls and minds. In fact, not only are we freed up, we are motivated in a positive sense to love Him in this wholehearted way. –Jerry Bridges, The Discipline of Grace

This is why we must, as Mr. Bridges is often repeating, preach the Gospel to ourselves daily. Your guilt is gone. There is no condemnation for those in Christ. Your position is absolutely and irrevocably secure because of Jesus’ blood and the love of the Father.

There were times in the first year with our dog that I was so angry and even thought about getting rid of her because the level of mess and chaos she created felt like too much. I’m so thankful God never looks at us that way, and I’m also thankful I didn’t give in to the feeling of the moment and miss out on a wonderful companion for our family.

Over time, she matured. She knew she could trust us, knew our expectations, and for the most part, met them. She wanted to please us out of sincere love because we had proven we loved her by caring for and being there.

This quote from Puritan theologian John Owen also resonated and convicted, “The greatest sorrow and burden you can lay on the Father, the greatest unkindness you can do to him is not to believe that he loves you.”

Your desire to please the Father is predicated on your believing He loves you as you are, no exceptions. Your performance or lack thereof won’t change that. It won’t change His level of care and provision. Accept that you hold position as a joint-heir with Christ and His love is abiding.

What are your thoughts? Do you ever struggle over the question of position over performance? Why or why not?

tdog_jbWelcome to week 7 of our book club discussion of The Discipline of Grace by Jerry BridgesWe are taking a sentence, paragraph, or passage that inspires, encourages, or challenges and writing about it. If you have a response on your blog, add your link to the widget below as my friend and co-facilitator, Sarah Salter, is coming back from out of town this week. Whether you’ve read the chapter or not, please dive into the conversation!

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  1. I still think about our last dog, a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel, who we had put to sleep in 2010. He was 14, about four years older than what’s considered maximum for the breed. I wrote the drafts for what became two novels with him lying on my feet. I still can’t walk into the door from he garage without expecting to hear the noise of him waking up in his crate. And he, too, learned he was accepted and loved. Thanks for this memory, Jason.
    Glynn recently posted..Something less than cruise controlMy Profile

    • It’s amazing the imprint they leave on our lives. Incredibly, we only had our dog for about 7 years. Of course, sometimes it feels like much longer and sometimes it feels too short. Love your memory as well! He was obviously an excellent writing companion with the quality of work you produced. 🙂 Thank you, Glynn.

  2. Love the quote by John Owen. I try to always remember to preach the gospel to myself daily. Thanks for this. I loved the days Tura came to my house. She was a great friend.

    • Yeah, me too. It’s such a succinct and beautiful way to express that truth. Yes, Jesus loves me! And thank you so much, Philip. 🙂

  3. I’m so sorry you had to say good-bye to your dear dog, Jason. I still miss my Maggie we had to put down nine years ago. But you have woven her love for you, and you for her, so brilliantly with Bridges’ words. The important thing is not performance but position -- a beloved child of God.
    Blessings, and my heart-felt sympathy.
    Martha Orlando recently posted..I Love You, Mrs. Orlando!My Profile

    • I do appreciate it, Martha. It was one of those things that was the right decision, but sometimes the right decision still feels horrible. I was so happy to be able to weave a little tribute to our friend with this week’s discussion. Thank you, Holy Spirit! Really appreciate you, Martha.

  4. Sorry about your beloved pet, if it was easy then there would have been no love involved.

    • That’s very true, Betty. Thank you. 🙂

  5. Love, love, love this statement: love and blessing has everything to do with position and little to do with performance. That is it in a nutshell.
    Bill (cycleguy) recently posted..Discrepancies?My Profile

    • Thank you, Bill. Some days it feels more real than others, but it is ALWAYS truth. Thanks again!

  6. I’m behind on reading this book…

    I’m sorry for your loss. We can learn a great deal about loyalty, forgiveness and love from our pets.
    They are another wonderful blessing from God.

    • For sure. 🙂 Thanks TC!

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