Living FOR Christ or Christ living THROUGH you.
The thrust of the gospel is not about believers living for Christ or working for Christ which has been and is the mentality of the religious environment. The effectiveness of such a concept has fallen far short of caring out the commission of Christ to "go into all the world and preach the gospel, making disciples of all nations". The working for Christ syndrome contributes to the reason that some 90% of the finances flowing into the coffers of religious organizations is consumed by selfish expenditures on man invented projects, and on keeping the religious wheels in motion.
The effectiveness of the gospel is in the understanding of our being in Christ and He in us, and our allowing Christ to do HIS work in us and through us as we work with Him to accomplish His purpose. Man's concocted projects and programs that we want God to come on board with and bless and is successful within the religious world, is not necessarily validation that it is God's work.
Not really perceiving and understanding the fact...that we can't truly live for God unless we let God live trough us...leads to a mentality based on performance therefore, it is an outward motivation, legalistic endeavor and incorporates all the hindrances that come along with man's idea of what should be done.
Let's take an example of most believer's lives today: attend Sunday event-driven-meetings, attend the mid week pray-less meeting, sing in the choir, give to the poor, pay tithes, listen to the preacher-tainer, witness to other people, maintain the proper dress, chase this or that conference because of the celebrity pulpit-tainer, talk the Christianized lingo and convince others that it is gospel and the Church of Jesus Christ. Is this what the Church of Christ is about?
The question is, can a non-believer come to a building called the "church" and do the same? Of course he can! He can be good to the poor he can come to the church every Sunday, can sing in the choir etc! What then differentiates someone who has learned to live like this but does not genuinely have a love relationship with God?
Sometimes we don't even realize that all this church activism is done to be accepted by like-minded people and has nothing to do with the love of God for us and Him living His life through us. In the back of our minds many of us think "if I do this, God is going to love me more! If I pray more, God is going to accept me more, if I give more money God will love me even more and the spiritual-elite of the organization will be satisfied" etc. This leads to a perverted concept as to what salvation is, even though we may have been taught that salvation is not attained by good deeds, somehow because we heard that we have to do something for God in order to do our best. But after a time we realized we have mixed the love for God with a certain duty we had to accomplish and when we did all these things we thought God would say "Well done my child" and this way we would earn us more favor with God. This is mixing works with grace and perverts Christ sacrifice on the cross. Grace plus anything is not GRACE.
That kind of understanding of salvation leads to quilt and condemnation because we fail to do more or do better as there's always room for more and there's always room for improvement. And God knows we could have done better and more! This gives rise to a self condemning attitude because of the failure to do better? Well, guess what? Next time you will try to do more and better but ... all this circle does is to improve performance and to create competition. This circle is endless and you continue to strive to do better and end up beating your head against the wall and realizing that all your best efforts can't help you live a life of victory.
It is time for all of us to shake our heads, remove the cob-webs and wake up to the fact that it is nothing other than trusting in ourselves to some degree, trusting that we can live for God by our own endeavor. God in His kindness and love for us wants to show us that it is not a matter of outside rules and sets of principles but it is a heart matter. Do we love God or not?
In living the freedom and the love of God, the motivation has to come as a response to God's love for me and me grasping to the best of my ability that God loves me infinitely already regardless of my praying, my tithing, my doing etc. I can't earn more of His love by doing all this doing! He already loves me but when I pray, it is my heart that opens more, it is my heart that comes to a place where I can be more receptive to God's infinite love.
When you understand how much you are loved, when you let God pour this love upon you it is only then that you can do the doings like assembling giving, praying, etc., with the right motivation instead of trying to earn His favor. It is then you stop comparing your achievements and serve God most in every little detail of life because Church is living life.