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I think it safe to say every believer has good and bad days. There are days where we are more aware of our sinfulness, struggles, bad attitude, or disobedience (despite a normal desire to obey). When having a bad day or struggling, how is your relationship with God? Is God far from you? Did He pull away from you?

I think many have or still do believe that God’s presence is based on personal performance. Bad days or sinful struggles means God is not near, He’s in the other room just waiting for our attitude to change. While your perceived good days produces a joyful relationship with Him where you both sit, drink coffee, and laugh together.

This, probably more common than we realize view, is detrimental to the believer’s soul. Brian Borgman says, “If you believe that God treats you according to your good or bad conduct; you will be the emotional equivalent of Slinky after a three-year old has tangled it up. . . . The other alternative to thinking God accepts us on the basis of our performance is to be a self-deceived hypocrite.” [1]

Believers need to realize our performance does not dictate the Lord’s actions toward us or EVEN His view of us. This way of thinking actually places the person at the center of the relationship, leading the relationship, and God becomes the follower. Your decisions direct His treatment of you.

This is contrary to Scripture. Believers are not “in” based on our performance. We are “in” because of Christ’s performance! “Nothing gives emotional stability, authentic joy, and unshakeable satisfaction like resting in the doctrine of justification by faith alone in Christ alone.” [2]

“Knowing that a man is not justified by works of the Law but through faith in Christ Jesus, even we have believed in Christ Jesus, so that we may be justified by faith in Christ and not by the works of the Law; since by works of the Law no flesh will be justified” (Gal. 2:16).

When we place our faith in Christ for salvation then God forgives us. He declares us forgiven not just of past sins, but present and future sins too. In fact, He changes our nature so that we are no longer dead men walking, but alive in Christ! We are united with Christ! We have a righteousness that is not our own, but from the Triune God! Being justified transfers us from being slaves to sin and into the family of God!

“I have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself up for me” (Gal 2:20).

This means God is at the center of our life. He does not treat us based on performance, believers are His children receiving His love constantly because we are His children. He trains us, conforms us to be like Christ, lavishes us in love and mercy, protects us, and has already granted us an inheritance in heaven with Him!

So do bad days, struggles, trials, persecution, or distress separate us from Christ for that day or period? Paul answers this question.

“Who will separate us from the love of Christ? Will tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? . . . But in all these things we overwhelmingly conquer through Him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor power, nor height, nor depth, nor any other created thing, will be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord” Rom 8:35-39).

Do you struggle with this problem? Are your perceptions of the Lord’s view of you based on your performance? Are you an emotional tangled slinky? Even if the answer is no, study, meditate on, and take comfort in the fact believers are justified by Christ alone and made His children. [3] God is always near to His child! He is always present, and His love is not predicated on your day.

[1] Feelings and Faith, Crossway, 2009, 74.

[2] Brian Borgman, Feelings and Faith, 74.

[3] Read Galatians 2-4; Ephesians 1-3; and Romans 3-8 to better understand justification by faith and union with Christ.