From Performance to Participation

By Chris Reitmayer, June 27, 2021

Phillipians 3:1-11

Finally, my brothers,[a] rejoice in the Lord. To write the same things to you is no trouble to me and is safe for you.2 Look out for the dogs, look out for the evildoers, look out for those who mutilate the flesh. 3 For we are the circumcision, who worship by the Spirit of God[b] and glory in Christ Jesus and put no confidence in the flesh— 4 though I myself have reason for confidence in the flesh also. If anyone else thinks he has reason for confidence in the flesh, I have more: 5 circumcised on the eighth day, of the people of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, a Hebrew of Hebrews; as to the law, a Pharisee; 6 as to zeal, a persecutor of the church; as to righteousness under the law,[c] blameless.

7 But whatever gain I had, I counted as loss for the sake of Christ. 8 Indeed, I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have suffered the loss of all things and count them as rubbish, in order that I may gain Christ 9 and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which comes through faith in Christ, the righteousness from God that depends on faith— 10 that I may know him and the power of his resurrection, and may share his sufferings, becoming like him in his death,11 that by any means possible I may attain the resurrection from the dead.

What gives your life significance?

Significance is defined by not .

Acts 7:58 - Acts 8:3

Then they cast him out of the city and stoned him. And the witnesses laid down their garments at the feet of a young man named Saul. 59 And as they were stoning Stephen, he called out, “Lord Jesus, receive my spirit.” 60 And falling to his knees he cried out with a loud voice, “Lord, do not hold this sin against them.” And when he had said this, he fell asleep.8 And Saul approved of his execution.

And there arose on that day a great persecution against the church in Jerusalem, and they were all scattered throughout the regions of Judea and Samaria, except the apostles. 2 Devout men buried Stephen and made great lamentation over him. 3 But Saul was ravaging the church, and entering house after house, he dragged off men and women and committed them to prison.

Acts 9:1-5

But Saul, still breathing threats and murder against the disciples of the Lord, went to the high priest 2 and asked him for letters to the synagogues at Damascus, so that if he found any belonging to the Way, men or women, he might bring them bound to Jerusalem. 3 Now as he went on his way, he approached Damascus, and suddenly a light from heaven shone around him. 4 And falling to the ground, he heard a voice saying to him, “Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting me?” 5 And he said, “Who are you, Lord?” And he said, “I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting.

To persecute Jesus’ followers, is to Jesus himself.

Galatians 2:20

I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.


"We experience the cross in our many death experiences (that is, our encounters with rejection, loss, and fear, those moments when we feel our being in question, alone to face the darkness). However, Paul seems to contend that when we confess these experiences, we find the risen Christ coming near us, giving us new life out of death, ministering to us out of God’s own experience of death on the cross.”

3 Practices:

Consider your own ledger.

What would you put in your credit column?

Do regular check-ins by asking: Am I performing for God or participating with God?

Ask why am I doing this? Is it to earn approval or favour? Or is it because of obedience?

Practice dying to self.

Ask is this about my own self-fulfillment or about self-giving love? Ask what’s going to help me die here?

Questions for personal study and/or Discipleship Group:

  1. What gives your life significance?
  2. What should give our lives significance?
  3. Discuss what’s the difference between performance and participation? Name some examples of where you’ve seen these different realities lived out in your own life and faith.
  4. Take an honest look at your life. If you were to consider your spiritual ledger, what things would you fill the credit side with. Are they the right things? Would you be willing to consider them all loss for the sake of knowing Christ? Is Jesus enough? Let’s not pretend this is easy instead let’s discuss why this is so challenging.
  5. Where are you currently performing for God or others?
  6. Where are you currently practicing dying to self? Where are some other areas you need to keep dying?
  7. Where might God be inviting you to participate more in the person of Jesus?