As I have previously stated so many times before, I am so stressed out most of the time as I plan my future after college—as much as I can actually control. It is so difficult to focus on God and pray to Him and read the Bible. The further away I move, the more I worry about my performance.
In fact, performance is such an important word for me. As a musician, I prepare performances, I deliver performances—it’s all about performance. Long hours in the practice room must result in a competent performance or else I’ll feel all my efforts are doomed.
Spending three hours every day in a practice room means a big part of my personal fulfillment and happiness is based on my clarinet performance. Worrying all day about whether my études will be ready for my lesson next week or whether I have the elegance required to perform Mozart’s concerto, has made me forget a bit about how my life and my worth depend on Jesus—not anything or anyone else.
Although we Christians don’t always portray it, the gospel is simple and mind-blowing.
Last night, as I drove back to school I sang Matt Maher’s “Lord, I Need You.” As I assimilated every word, the gospel once again struck me to the core. “My one defense, my righteousness. Oh, God, how I need You,” says the song.
I worry and worry as if this world mattered more than God’s kingdom. My idolatry has consisted in putting my worldly struggles and ambitions above God’s love and grace and mercy and peace. And the only thing I’ve accomplished is a greater sense of hopelessness.
But this world is not my home and my salvation is not dependent on my performance.
The gospel tells me that Jesus came to die to take my place. My salvation is not based on what I can do but on what he has done. He is my righteousness. If I am asked what I’ve done to be saved or how can I be saved despite all my sin, I can say I am saved because of Jesus.
The greatest reliever is that Jesus does not look at my performance to decide whether I am accepted or not. Whatever failures I face in this world, Jesus has a place for me in the Father’s kingdom. He takes away the need to base my worth on my performance. Instead, as Maher’s song goes, “Holiness is Christ in me.”
Jesus is my righteousness and that thought is freeing.
It is because of him that you are in Christ Jesus, who has become for us wisdom from God—that is, our righteousness, holiness and redemption. Therefore, as it is written: “Let the one who boasts boast in the Lord.”
1 Corinthians 1:30,31 (NIV)