The Scorecard

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There are two scorecards we can use to tally our success.

There are two scorecards we can use to tally our success.

How do you gauge how you are doing? Everyone has a scorecard. It is probably not a physical scorecard, where personal or professional progress is tracked. Most of us keep a tally of certain things that end up measuring whether we feel we are succeeding or not. We get a feeling of satisfaction or discontent from those metrics.

There are outer scorecards. Calculations are made using pedigree, place, profit, or professing principles (just professing them is sometimes enough, without keeping them.) I am not discounting what can be known about someone by some of these visible metrics. However, the exterior life can be deceiving. Not only can it be used to trick others, it is easy to trick ourselves.

The best corrective to the potential deception of an outer scorecard is an inner scorecard. An inner scorecard is the satisfaction we feel with who we are. To be clear, the inner scorecard is not about reputation. It has nothing to do with who others think we are. There is ultimately no satisfaction in the false rewards of reputation.

I see Paul outlining an outer and inner scorecard in Philippians 3:4-9. He defines an outer scorecard as “confidence in the flesh” (v.4). These were things like ethnicity (Israelite, Benjamite, Hebrew), title (Pharisee), action (persecutor), morality (by the book). At some point though, he says he crumpled up that scorecard (v.7). The new, inner scorecard he started using was simply “to be found in him” (v.9). Paul was motivated to be true to the one opinion that counts.

The inner scorecard always trumps the outer scorecard. No matter the background, how impressive the title, what we have built, or even the standards we have managed to maintain; if we don’t feel on the inside that we are lining up with the way things really are on the outside, we will never be satisfied and never receive approval from the One opinion that ultimately matters.

Title Signature Screenshot Cartoon 2015

You’ve Already Made It

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Getting Tense

Sometimes in Scripture the tenses make all the difference. Knowing if what is being said already happened, is happening now, or is going to happen really changes the impact. In Ephesians 2:6 it says, “And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus.” God raised and seated those he made alive in Christ. These are “already” statements. God already did this—past tense.

Something to Prove

In complete candor, we would all admit feeling we have something to prove. How we go about it may manifest itself in different ways. It is something that can be felt though. You feel it when it’s hard to relax and there is the faint hum of tension just under the surface. You feel it when you can’t contain the burst of anger. You feel it when someone makes a stinging criticism.

Heaven’s Approval

Even with God, the need to prove ourselves surfaces. We know our relationship with God is sola gratia. We know grace is free. We are card-carrying evangelical Protestants, for heaven’s sake. We can’t deny the feeling is there though.

Already In

What would it be like to really trust in the fact that from God’s perspective, you’ve already made it? You are raised and seated in heaven. You are in. Not only are you in, but you are sitting down—because there’s no more work to do. What else is there? Sitting down in heaven is pretty much the top of the ladder, wouldn’t you say?

God’s Work

We are familiar with the grace-through-faith statement of verse 8, but the logic of the two verses that follow gets missed sometimes. This free grace that saves is “not of works, so that no one can boast. For we are God’s workmanship…” (verses 9-10). We didn’t make it because of our work. God was the one at work.

Nothing to Prove

What would it be like to trust that there is nothing to prove? How would you feel if there was no one to impress?

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