From Humanistic Performance to Spiritual Pursuit

Do you believe God cares more about your performance as a Christian or in being active in pursuing your relationship with Him? When we start relying on ourselves in our life, we start treating being a Christian as a humanistic performance rather than a spiritual pursuit of God. How do you trust in your own effort over God’s power in your life?
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A devotional is an in-depth Bible study. A typical devotional should take you anywhere from 5 to 15 minutes to complete. Download and print a PDF version of this devotional for yourself, or use it with a friend to create an engaging discussion.


This Bible Study was inspired by The Spirituality of Jesus, Part 5: “Believing”.

Opening Question:

Do you believe God cares more about your performance as a Christian or in being active in pursuing your relationship with Him?

Step #1 – Believe God wants a pursuit not a performance

Are you so foolish? Do you think you can perfect something God’s Spirit started with any human effort? [4] Have you suffered so greatly for nothing — if it was indeed for nothing? [5] You have experienced the Spirit He gave you in powerful ways. Miracle after miracle has occurred right before your eyes in this community, so tell me: did all this happen because you have kept certain provisions of God’s law, or was it because you heard the gospel and accepted it by faith?

Galatians 3:3-5 Voice
  • When we start relying on ourselves in our life, we start treating being a Christian as a humanistic performance rather than a spiritual pursuit of God.
  • How do you trust in your own effort over God’s power in your life?

For we do not want you to be uninformed, brethren, about the affliction and oppressing distress which befell us in the province of Asia, how we were so utterly and unbearably weighed down and crushed that we despaired even of life itself. [9] Indeed, we felt within ourselves that we had received the very sentence of death, but that was to keep us from trusting in and depending on ourselves instead of on God Who raises the dead.

2 Corinthians 1:8-9 AMPC
  • Challenges in our lives are actually opportunities to start pursuing confidence in God in new ways.
  • What challenges are you experiencing that are actually opportunities to learn to pursue God? Have you been deciding to trust and depend more on God? Why or why not?

Step #2 – Identify how you rely on yourself rather than God

But now trouble comes to you, and you are discouraged; trouble hits you, and you are terrified. [6] You should have confidence because you respect God; you should have hope because you are innocent.

Job 4:5-6 NCV
  • How do you look for confidence based on success in your life? (career, school, finances, relationships, etc)
  • Do you get confidence only when you are being successful in your life? (Circumstantial faith)

To some who were confident of their own righteousness and looked down on everyone else, Jesus told this parable:

Luke 18:9 NIV
  • We can feel good about the good things we try to do. We either get deceived and critical thinking we are so good or we get discouraged because we aren’t able to do what we “should” do.
  • How do you look to get a confidence based on your spiritual performance?

Step #3 – Choose to become spiritual

So humble yourselves under the mighty power of God, and at the right time he will lift you up in honor. [7] Give all your worries and cares to God, for he cares about you.

1 Peter 5:6-7 NLT
  • Being spiritual includes believing God cares about you and also giving him your worries in a way that you do not have them anymore.
  • How can you start pursuing God in prayer in a way that you leave your worries with him? Is there a new way to pursue God that you can try this week?

But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from all sin. [8] If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us. [9] If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness. [10] If we claim we have not sinned, we make him out to be a liar and his word is not in us.

1 John 1:7-10 NIV
  • Being spiritual means you walk in the light which means being honest and vulnerable about what you are thinking and feeling.
  • How can you start being more honest in your life about your life, emotions, desires, and sins?
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