The Struggle of Performance

Has a nation changed its gods, even though they are no gods?
But my people have changed their glory for that which does not profit.
Be appalled, O heavens, at this; be shocked, be utterly desolate,
declares the Lord 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 2:11-13


I am certainly not a medical professional. I do not know what it means to diagnose someone with a certain condition or illness. But the one person I know well enough to diagnose is, myself. The one struggle I can clearly diagnose in myself is that I am a performance driven person. This means I approach everything as an opportunity to perform well, and my identity gets wrapped up in it.

The benefit of being performance driven is I tend to go into most situations ready to give my all and give the best of myself. The fault of being performance driven is I believe I am capable of doing everything, without any help. My tendency is to see a problem, create a solution, and use all my effort and energy to bring the solution to completion. This does not sound like the worst of struggles until it comes to my walk with Jesus, then I realize how devastating it is.

The performance-driven struggle in my life leads me to need the same warning Jeremiah is giving God’s people in these verses. God’s people are being called out for their rebellion against God. The same God who has claimed them as His own people, and who has constantly and faithfully rescued them from the consequences their disobedience led them to. Jeremiah is telling them they have committed two evils: 1) They have forgotten about God who is the fountain of living water, 2) They are depending on their own strength and abilities to get this living water.

Thankfully, the grace Jesus has for us destroys both of these two evils. Grace reminds us that even though we tend to forget about God, He still does not reject us. Not only does He not reject us, but He still calls for us, and chases after us. This grace reminds us of the truth we read about in James 4:8, “Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded.” He only comes closer as we do!

As for the cisterns we have created, it should not take long to see they are not adequate enough to hold living water. Every single item man creates has a deadline, it simply will not last forever. God tells us not to use our own efforts to try to gather living water because He knows it cannot suffice. If God is the source of the living water only He can create a cistern suitable to carry the living water around. So, He does just that and He creates our hearts.

He creates our hearts and then tells us about how He loves us so much He will come and be the source of living water in our life. He does not give a cistern for the living water, He makes us the cistern in which to hold the living water He graciously allows to flow in our lives.

Let this truth be our fight against combating the same evils that God’s people dealt with thousands of years ago. Remembering God and receiving His grace push back against the struggle we have to perform our way through life. When we do not perform our way through life we can focus with more clarity on what God has for us, and who God has placed in our lives.


  • Where do you potentially see these two “evils” springing up in your life? Where do you feel the need to perform for security in your identity?

  • What ways can you remember God and His grace in order to push back against trying to perform throughout your life?


Father, I know You are full of grace and mercy. I remind myself how You created me to live for You because of desire rather than performance. The world around me tells me to out-perform everyone around me and work for myself. Remind me to simply remember You and receive grace. You do not want my performance, You want my heart. In Your name, I pray, amen.

PC3 writer Davy Nance wrote today’s devotional.

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