“For My people have committed two evils: they have forsaken Me, the fountain of living waters, and hewed out cisterns for themselves, broken cisterns that can hold no water.” Jeremiah 2:13
This verse is pretty bittersweet to me. The sweetness comes from the fact it helps to bring light to the reality of humanity. The bitterness comes from the fact this verse describes me perfectly. I feel as though this verse speaks to all of us who struggle with being so performance driven in all we do.
The first evil is the toughest one to swallow. It is a hard pill to swallow to think we have simply forsaken God at some point in our lives. But because of decisions made from Adam and Eve it is the reality we are born into. As we grow up and we begin to get exposed to God we realize more and more this reality.
Thankfully, the answer to turning away from this evil is by surrendering to Jesus. When we surrender our lives to Jesus, we acknowledge the fact we have left Him. God in His goodness gave us all the chance to choose God, because love only exists when there is a choice. If God forced us all to choose Him, it would not be love, we would simply be robots. In God’s sovereign goodness He gives us the chance to seek Him, find Him and choose Him.
The second evil is the one which really hits home for those of us who struggle with performing all of our lives. The idea of making our own cisterns to gather water is something we know all too well.
I can recall many moments in my life where after a mistake, I try to take my efforts and good deeds to God in order to get living water. I will bring the kindness I have toward others, the doors I hold open, the spiritual conversations I have, the money I give to church and charities, and try to use this as the vessels to hold this living water.
Every time I try to bring them to get the water, it just falls right out the bottom. This is because everything made from my hands, have imperfections and flaws. When I try to craft a vessel to hold the living water, it will all surely leak out and there I am left with just an empty vessel.
This is surely the same reality for when I try to bring my performance to God in exchange for grace. I get all excited and come to God with my good deeds thinking, "Certainly I have done enough to earn grace!" Yet, time and time again my good deeds do not do anything for the grace I receive.
Time and time again when I bring my performance to God He reminds me to cease my striving. He reminds me the reality I get to partake in is grace which is unearned. God calls me to simply receive grace because of what Jesus has done.
This verse always brings me back to the interaction Jesus had with a Samaritan woman in John 4. There is plenty to unpack in Jesus' interaction with this woman, but one moment in particular to highlight is when the woman asks Jesus about getting the water from the well. Her exact statement is, "Sir, You have nothing to draw water with, and the well is deep" (John 4:11).
The woman was not able to see how Jesus could simply give living water, without putting in the work to get it from the well. We naturally feel strange about having to receive something without working for it. This is why we tend to approach receiving grace with our performance because it is how the world operates.
The wonderful truth is we do not have to be trapped in the performance cycle, we are free to live forgiven and with grace. Our position is one with open hands as a way to show us surrendering our "good works" and simply receiving His grace.
● Do you find yourself trapped in the cycle of performance? What areas of life do you feel as though you try to earn/perform the most?
● What sort of thoughts come into your mind when you think about how grace is something you just have to receive and not earn? Write those down.
● Start each day reminding yourself to just receive grace. Every time you make a mistake and feel the performance trying to surface in your heart, let Jesus' grace remind you to just receive.
Father, I am so grateful for undeserved forgiveness and grace. Even though it is a struggle to simply receive it, I pray You teach my heart to receive what You have already provided. I know the more grace I receive, the better reflection I have of You in my life. I love You Father, and pray in Your holy name, Amen.
PC3 writer Davy Nance wrote today’s devotional.