Am I doing “so that” or “because?”
This is a question that recently jolted me. I’ve been working through Louie Giglio’s study, Goliath Must Fall, and the chapter on facing rejection proved to be challenging.
The study focuses on the story of David as he faces Goliath, but with a twist: we are not David in the story—Jesus is David; only through the Spirit of God is David able to take down Goliath. Because we have the same Spirit in us, we too can take down the giants we face in our lives.
This giant, particularly, is rejection.
We’ve all faced rejection. But many of us respond to this giant in different ways. We may let it shape us, control us, determine what we do or don’t do. It may drive us to insecurity and a feeling of low self-worth. Or it may drive us in the opposite direction, producing in us a hunger for perfection, to succeed at all costs, to become the ultimate overachiever.
I had never considered how strongly I feared rejection until I recognized my fear of risk. I’m one that likes to play it safe; I like stability, routine, and predictability. If you’ve ever taken the DISC assessment, I’m a high S—steady, consistent, calm. So when it comes time to try something new or take a risk, I’m typically hesitant and afraid of the unknown.
But what if I fail? What will they think? What if, what if, what if?
Louie comes through with a reality check: “Some of us have incredible potential, but we don’t want to try anything bold because we don’t want to fail. The easy choice: live in the relative safety of mediocrity because we think that’s better than rejection.”
So how do we avoid mediocrity and overcome this giant of fear and rejection? Louie provides four steps:
1. We understand the miracle of our creation. In Psalm 139, we read, “For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well.” We weren’t merely snapped into existence; God formed our innermost parts, He intricately designed us. He gave us our personality, our quirks, our sense of humor and taste buds.
2. We revel in the mystery that Jesus chose us. Ephesians 1 says, “for he chose us in him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight. In love he predestined us for adoption to sonship through Jesus Christ, in accordance with his pleasure and will—to the praise of his glorious grace, which he has freely given us in the One he loves.” From the very beginning, God knew us, and He chose us. He’s always wanted us; He’s always loved us; He’s always chosen us.
3. We grasp how costly it was for Jesus to rescue us. Jesus paid the ultimate price to rescue us, out of his great love for us. Our debt had to be paid, and He willingly took it all on Himself. God saw fit to sacrifice His very own Son for our salvation, to be reconciled to Him. In other words, you are worth Jesus to God. That’s how precious we are to Him.
4. We live from acceptance, not for it. Everything we need we’ve already been given in Christ. We are approved. We are loved. We are accepted and dressed for action. He is equipping us with everything good (Hebrews 13:21) that we may live freely and boldly for His glory. We don’t have to earn His acceptance; we have all we need. No longer striving, we can throw off our weights and run the race Jesus has called us to.
So here comes the challenge, some meat to chew on: Am I doing “so that” or “because”? Am I living so that I can be approved of and affirmed by God and men? Or am I living and doing because of the work of Jesus on the cross? The life He has given? And the heavenly commission we’ve been given in the power of the Holy Spirit? When we remember that the same power that raised Jesus from the dead is living and actively moving in us, we are equipped and able to take risks, live boldly, step out in faith. And as we do this, the giants we face must go down.
“You are worth Jesus to God.”