The Search for Significance – Part 1

Lord willing, for the next six weeks a few guests and I will be blogging through the book, “The Search for Significance” by Robert S. McGee. There are some fabulous young ladies reading it with me, but whether you are able to join us in the study or not, I would highly recommend reading the book. The posts are primarily meant to be supplement to the study…

Aside: I still hope to continuing the organization thread posts with these.

We covered Ch. 1-3. Next week we will be meeting to go over 4-5.

McGee writes that he believes that all these lies find their root in one false belief: Self-Worth = Our Performance + Other Opinions. Living by this equation will emotionally and spiritually wreck us. However, if we dig deep into the Word of God and find our significance in him, we will be placing it in the one thing that will never fail us.

The Four Lies

We spent the first week discussing the four lies that keep us from realizing our significance in Christ. Not everyone will identify with all of these lies. Yet as my Mom pointed out, every human deals with at least one, if not two. These may seem rather extreme, but I know a few of them play subtle parts in my life every day. Especially the last one.

The Performance Trap:

‘I must meet certain standards in order to feel good about myself.’

Consequences: the fear of failure; perfectionism; being driven to succeed; manipulating others to achieve success; withdrawal from healthy risks, anger, resentment, pride, depression and low motivation.

God’s Answer: Justification (by grace through faith)—just as if I had never sinned. Romans 5:1: ‘Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.’ Because of justification, I am completely forgiven and fully pleasing to God, I no longer need to fear failure.

 The Approval Addiction:

‘I must be approved (accepted) by others to feel good about my- self.’

Consequences: the fear of rejection; attempting to please others at any cost; overly sensitive to criticism; withdrawing from others to avoid disapproval, being easily manipulated, codependency; control, depression, etc.

God’s Answer: Reconciliation—brought into a right relationship with God. Colossians 1:21-22: “Once you were alienated from God and were enemies in your minds because of your evil behav- ior. But now he has reconciled you by Christ’s physical body through death to present you holy in his sight, without blemish and free from accusation…” Because of reconciliation, I am totally accepted by God. I no longer have to fear rejection. God is at peace with me.

To help us realize what God think of us, McGee recommends that we look at 1 Corinthians 13:4-7 and substitute the word “God” for the word “love”. My Heavenly Father is: (1) Very patient and kind; (2) not envious, never boastful; (3) not arrogant; (4) never rude nor self-seeking; (5) not quick to take offense; (6) keeps no score of wrongs; (7) does not gloat over my sins but is glad when truth prevails; (8) knows no limit to His endurance, no end to His trust; (9) always hopeful and patient.

The Blame Game:

‘Those who fail are unworthy of love and deserve to be punished.’

Consequences: The fear of punishment; punishing others; blaming others for personal failure; withdrawal from God and others; driven to avoid failure.

God’s Answer: Propitiation—God’s holiness and justice is satisfied by Christ’s death in our place. 1 John 4:9-11: This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him. This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins. Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another.” (cf. Romans 8:1) Because of propitiation, I am deeply loved by God. I no longer have to fear punishment or punish myself or others.


‘I just can’t help it, that’s just the way I am. I cannot change. I am hopeless.’

Consequences: feelings of shame, hopelessness, inferiority; passivity; loss of creativity; isolation; withdrawal from others, resigned to failure; a feeling of helplessness.

God’s Answer: Regeneration—being spiritually reborn by the Word and Spirit of God. John 3:3- 6: “In reply Jesus declared, “I tell you the truth, no one can see the kingdom of God unless he is born again. How can a man be born when he is old?” Nicodemus asked. “Surely he cannot enter a second time into his mother’s womb to be born!” Jesus answered, “I tell you the truth, no one can enter the kingdom of God unless he is born of water and the Spirit. Flesh gives birth to flesh, but the Spirit gives birth to spirit.” (cf. Titus 3:5)

Because of regeneration, I am a new creation—complete in Christ. I no longer need to experience the pain of shame. I have a new nature, a new heart, a new occupant on the throne, a new source of identity—who I am in Christ!

Love to hear your thoughts of questions! Grace and Peace in our Lord Jesus Christ!


One thought on “The Search for Significance – Part 1

  1. This book is amazing and life changing. For me, the lies were Performance Trap and Approval Addiction. Once I began to deny those lies and find my identity in Christ alone, I began to open up and be more confident… not because of who I am, but because of who He is. It took time and repetition of telling myself the truth when faced one of those false beliefs, but eventually I felt so free. Enjoy studying the book!

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