Freedom from the Performance Trap

1 Corinthians 15:9-10

Adrian Rogers

Sermon Overview

Scripture Passage: 1 Corinthians 15:9-10

Many of us believe the lie that God will only accept us on the basis of our performance. But this idea is the opposite of grace and faith in Jesus. Scripture reveals how grace grants us freedom from the performance trap.

1 Corinthians 15:10 says, “But by the grace of God I am what I am, and His grace toward me was not in vain; but I labored more abundantly than they all, yet not I, but the grace of God which was with me.”

First, we must acknowledge the ruin of perfectionism.

Perfectionism is the disease of judging ourselves by our achievements. Perfectionism is a thief; it promises rewards but steals our joy and satisfaction. Because it is an unattainable goal, we’ll never truly feel accepted—in fact, we may even become angry at God.

Perfectionism is harmful to others; perfectionists judge others for not reaching the high standards they themselves cannot reach.

Adrian Rogers says, “One of the finest things you could do would be to let others know you are not perfect. They’ll relax a little bit—not because they learn it (that you’re not perfect), but because they learn that you’ve learned it.”

Perfectionism can also ruin a church. A church is a fellowship of sinners saved by grace, all in different stages of progression; we are works in progress, not yet perfect.

God does not look for perfection from His children; He wants excellence.

If we ever want to be free from the performance trap, we must recognize the marks of perfectionism in our own lives.

  1. Are you an idealist or a realist?
  2. Do you set impossible goals for yourself and others, failing to fulfill them?
  3. Do you try to be the best, or to do your best?
  4. Are you project-minded or process-minded?
  5. Do you dwell on failure or do you learn from it?

God does not keep score or make lists of our accomplishments and failures.

By His own grace, God has already accepted us—not because of anything we can do, but because of what Christ has done. Through faith, we can accept that acceptance, and learn to accept others.

Apply it to your life

Are you caught up in the trap of performance? Recognize the marks of perfectionism in your own life, and remember that you can be freed from it. Accept the acceptance God has already given to you.