Cycle of Works VS cycle of Grace

Recently, I heard a message on the ‘Cycle of works VS Cycle of grace’, which strucked me and changed my line of thinking especially being a teacher.

First, think of 5 things to describe who you are… 

Did you describe your job? family status? Hobbies? Achievements Or your personality? Characteristic? Traits? 

‘Cycle of works’ starts with your achievement or performance… Maybe your good at sport or drama or maths or art or cooking. How does this make you feel? Significant? Important? Confident? 

As you are feeling like this, you start to want to do it more so you might be unstoppable, empowered, feel success. As you are good at these things, you or others might start believing in you so you start to feel accepted.

‘Cycle of works’ is: Achievement – significant – empowered then accepted.

Makes sense. As a teacher I look at my children’s work and achievements, praise them even give them rewards, which makes them feel significant, empowered to carry on then accepted. 

This cycle is based on what you can do. It starts with achievement.

BUT THEN… What happens when you don’t achieve? Do you feel angry? Disappointed? Maybe ashamed? Does that mean your not significant or empowered or accepted?

What experience have you had where you haven’t felt accepted? Or through relationship where you haven’t felt accepted? 

‘Cycle of Works’ is faulty because you don’t feel valued if you haven’t achieved. This is the worldly view. If you haven’t achieved, you are nothing. Living under achievement or performance can be exhausting, burn us out.

‘Cycle of Grace’ – Let’s look backwards starting with Accepted. In Matthew 3, when Jesus was baptised, he came out of the water and God said “This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased”. At this stage, Jesus hadn’t started his ministry yet God loved him, He was accepted by God just like we are. God accepts us no matter on our past or our achievements; he loves us no matter what. We are already accepted by God, he makes us feel empowered, which makes us feel significant. If we feel confident and know that God has given us unique gifts and talents, we can achieve. We want to run the race and transform because of Jesus. 

‘Cycle of Grace’ is based on who we are. No amount of what we do will determine our value. Can’t take away our value. This will have a great impact. 

If we believe we can do all things through Christ, it will set us free. It will give us a sense of peace. Replace those thoughts of ‘I will never be able to do this’. As God accepts us, he can guide us and empower us to do all things. 

Have you got annoyed when your children hasn’t achieved something? Not being able to dress themselves? Or do up their laces? Have you encouraged them through this, praised them for their efforts or just get angry? Will they feel valued? Loved? Accepted?

As a teacher, I need to praise more children for their efforts and see their unique gifts rather than get frustrated that they can’t achieve a maths problem or spell a certain word. I need to see their value and not look at their achievements. I need to show them more that I love and care for them, that they are accepted.

‘Cycle of Grace’ is Accepted – empowered – significant and then achievement flows from this. 

So… When you thought of the words to describe who are you, did you base these words on achievements or what God sees you as? Your value? 

Which cycle have you lived by? 

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