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The End of Worshiping Futility Gods

Performance based believers worship futility gods.

God wants to bring and end to the futility gods. We are like a hamster on a wheel trying desperately to earn acceptance and love. For most performers because there is no conscious thought of this the cycle continues unless interrupted by suffering. This then is my story.

I kissed the cold dead face of my husband goodbye.  The undertaker closed the casket lid.  Steve was gone.  I would never see that beloved face again or see the flash of impish delight in his green Irish eyes.   I knew total acceptance and love in that beloved visage.


wedding bands.

God Does Not Speak Today

Inside I was screaming, “God you have got to talk to me.”  My church said the power of the Holy Spirit was no longer active, but died with the last Apostle.  Furthermore, they said the scriptures finished God’s revelation, and He did not speak as He had to the early church.  “God, I can’t do this without your speaking,” I cried.

I sat in the pew.  My eyes, so filled with tears I could hardly see, fell on the bible in the pew rack.  In desperation, I opened it and saw this verse: blinking away the tears I read:

God Spoke

Romans 8:18 “For I perceive that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing to the glory that will be revealed in us.”

God spoke!  He spoke to me.  The suffering I was going through was not worth comparing to the glory He would reveal in me. In fact, He had a plan.  He saw me, unimportant me, and He speaks today no matter what anybody said!  I did not need to be a white-knuckle club member, hanging on till Jesus comes, alive, but not living.  He could guide me by His voice.  Understandably, this was a game changer and Romans 8:18 a scripture He recalled many times over the next decades.

Worship Futility

Many times, over those decades suffering came to my life, and I hung on to Romans 8:18. I learned by experience the truths of the scriptures that followed. Indeed, I did not know I was a performance-based believer and worshipped futility gods.

Romans 8:19 “For the anxious longing of the creation waits eagerly for the revealing of the sons of God.  20 For the creation was subjected to futility, not of its own will, but because of Him who subjected it, in hope 21 that the creation itself also will be set free from its slavery to corruption into the freedom of the glory of the children of God.” The truth is, God wants to set us free from our worship of futility.

directional sign: give up, don't give up. performance based believers worship futility/end of the futility gods

We always have a choice.

Many years of pain and futility followed the death of my first husband.  His death brought my “stuff” to the surface of my life. However, God took advantage of this to teach me lessons so I might become free of the “futile ways of life handed down from my forefathers” (I Pet. 1:18).  Undeniably, we humans learn ways of relating that are futile.  Futile means the behaviors are useless and result in nothing of any value.  Think of it this way, most of the things you learned to grow up need replaced because they are futile.

Subjected to Futility

Romans 8:20 tells us that the “creation is subjected to futility” because God hopes for us to “be set free from slavery to corruption into the freedom of the glory of the children of God”.   So, it takes futility to set us free from futility.  It takes times of uselessness to set us free from our useless behaviors. In fact, it is the lack of any value in these behaviors that brings to light the truth they are of no avail.

Many futile years passed.

Yet, I carried so much pain, so much disillusionment and bitterness toward God.  As a result, I lost sight of the truth that God allowed futility for a purpose.  I was a performance-based believer who worshiped futility gods. In a writing class I wrote a poem in the Villanelle style.  This is the style the town crier used in the Middle Ages to bring the news to the villages. The town crier repeated various phrases throughout this style to help the main points stick in the minds of the hearers.  In this poem, my main point was the futility of life.

Futility’s Sake

For futility’s sake, I must go on

Through toil, pain and strife.

And tomorrow will still rise the sun.

The race of this life is hardly won.

Experience cuts like a knife.

For futility’s sake, I must go on.

The burden grows greater with each new dawn,

for I am Discouragement’s wife.

And tomorrow will still rise the sun.

If earth opened up and swallowed this one

the grave would seem sweet life.

For futility’s sake, I must go on.

No promise of newness unto this pawn,

moved by circumstance in flight.

And tomorrow will still rise the sun.

No better day is visible to Depression’s son,

no succor to loathsome tripe.

For futility’s sake, I must go on.

And tomorrow will still rise the sun.

                             © Debra L. Webster 1984


When writing this poem, I was so destroyed that there was little left, yet tomorrow comes with the sun’s rising.  There was no comfort in that thought.  Indeed, hope was something others had.

Years later, I discovered I was a performance-based believer and came to understand performers are subject to futility.  Performance-based believers do not believe they are acceptable to the Beloved.  If someone asked them, “is salvation by grace”? They could answer yes, but their actions belie their real belief.  The truth is, they may teach and preach the word yet live as if their relationship with God depends on them doing the right things at the right time in the right way.

directional signs: secure, unsafe, valued, useless, included, outcast. performance based believers worship futility/end of the futility gods

God Will Help Us Feel Secure, Valued, Included With the End Of the Futility Gods

Fear gods

In the early years, I remember feeling so obligated to seek Him and guilty when I fell short.  If I did not have time with Him, I felt unworthy to come to Him.   Performance-based Christianity was my game and like all performance-based believers I believed I had to perform for love and acceptance. In my life, there were many futility gods to serve, everyone a fear god.  Other gods are fear based.  Scripture tells us to fear the Lord and worship Him only.  (Deut. 6:13) But, fear and worship are the same word in the original language in both Hebrew and Greek.  

Fear is Worship

 The truth is, if we fear poverty, we fear the loss of money and make money our god.  We insert the money god in place of a right fear and worship of God. If we fear man, we put a man in the place of God and so do everything we can to please men to win their acceptance. We ascribe awe to whatever we fear.  Undeniably, this is awe belonging only to God.  Unfortunately, we worship whatever we behold and we become like that which we behold or rehearse.  No wonder we need to experience the futility of these things we hold in reverence and use to guide our lives.

directional sign for trust or fear. performance based believers worship futility due to fear  ty

We Choose Trust or Fear

Man Pleasing

I was a man-pleaser, a man worshiper desperate to perform well enough to receive God’s and people’s love.  Even though my second husband loved me well, my eyes focused on how other people accepted me part of the time and the rest of the time on God.  Still, over the futile years, God transformed me from the performer for men to the lover of God.  Thankfully, He transformed me from an opportunist to a bride.

Focus on Him

Before the transformation, I knew my eyes should be on Him alone.  Why was my focus often on other things?  Because fear drove this problem.  I struggled because I did not know the names of the futility gods.  I could not see how they had grabbed my heart.  Yet, I loved Him and wanted to love only Him. One I did know was man pleasing. God used a process of years of training to bring and end to this futility god.

Listening to His Voice Alone

Thankfully, lovers of I Am never love in vain. Their acceptance does not depend on their behavior because the blood of the Bridegroom Lamb is enough.  Song 4:7 “You are all beautiful my darling, there is no flaw in you”. NIV   Even when we are still performers we have no flaw in His eyes because His blood covers us and makes us beautiful. Eventually, lovers come to the belief that His opinion is the one that matters.

Not Wrong at Our Core

This does not mean we never do wrong, but we are not wrong at our core.  The belief we must perform for acceptance and love is a belief in our defectiveness rather than in His total salvation of us.  Jesus died to set us free from the mind-set of our belief in our defectiveness if we will let Him.

The God Who IS

When the Lord told Moses “I Am has sent me.”  And “I Am Who I Am” He was telling Moses that He is the God who IS.  He would say to us, “don’t fill in the blank with the God of abundant crops or the God of procreation or the God of provision”.  He is I Am, the God who IS.  Because He IS, He calls us to BE.  We are to be His, nothing more and nothing less.  Our new name is the bride of the Lamb, not defective or performer or stupid or outcast.  Today let the Lord rename you.  His heart has already renamed you.  Ask Him what that name is.

Worship Futility gods

In that day, the ancients believed if they knew the name of the god, they could then figure out how to serve that god so they could control the outcomes of their lives.  Undeniably, they did this because they were afraid of drought, poverty, war, etc.  When they knew the name, they devised rituals to appease these gods and believed blessing in their lives depended on them doing the right rituals. However if blessing did not result, they did other rituals or adopted gods of nations that appeared to have blessing.  Because of this, the Lord gave His name as “I Am”.  He did not want them to carry out rituals to please Him.  There was a message in this name for sincere believers. Yet, even sincere believers can be performance-based believers and worship futility.

feet in slave chains. perform to be loved and accepted. the end of the futility gods

Performance Based Believers Worship Futility and are Enslaved

Slaves to Fear

The Israelites were slaves for 400 years.  During these decades, they worshipped the Egyptian gods and Jehovah.  Naturally, this is the reason they had trouble hearing Moses when he came to set them free.  This is the reason God told Moses to tell them His name was I Am.  He was a God they could not control.  Unfortunately, they were used to gods they could control by their behaviors, by their rituals.  So are we.

Slaves to Fear

The Lord did not want the Israelites to stay afraid as they were coming out of slavery or they may always think as slaves.  In fact, slaves believe they must perform to survive or in the USA, perform for love and acceptance.  The truth is,  they are correct when they are slaves.  If you do not comply as a slave they punish or kill you.


The Lord wanted them to know Him as I Am.  “I Am all you need, I Am everything.  Do nothing for me.  You need not appease me.”  He wanted them to know He loved them, that He was their Lover.  Unfortunately, few former slaves understood.  They stayed slaves in their minds.  They served “the futile ways of life handed down from their forefathers.” (1Pet. 1:18) But, God want to teach them and bring an end to the worship of futility Gods.

Futility No More

He proved that He meant this when He died for us.  Thankfully, we have a benefit the former slaves did not have because of His death, burial and resurrection.  We need do nothing for Him because He did it for us when He died. I Am does not need our performance.  We need to be, just be His.  Obviously, he wants a lover not a slave.

Years of futility went by after writing “Futility’s Sake” then I wrote this poem:

                                                Being Nothing

To be or not to be, that is the question.

To be or not to be?? that is the question??

To be like Him, to be not like men.

But the imprint of His Glory on your humanity,

the imprint of His face on your face,

the imprint of His truth on your life.

Amazing is this One we serve,

amazing and incomprehensible,

yet he reveals Himself to mere men,

and leaves the imprint of His Glory upon them.

Why regard us, oh Fair One?

and why seek out our wretched frame?

the imprint of Your Glory

should go on better stuff than this.

It is men of dust you use to proclaim

Your Glory in the earth.

We see your face and cry,

“I am not, I am nothing, and You are all.”

You are glorified in our lack,

in our nothing in our not.

We are not except for You,

and what we are is the reflection

of Your face.

There we find our value.

There we find our “I am”.

We find our being in You

and are content to be so.

Content to be lost in You,

identified with You and by You.

I Am is ours,

so we are.

Do not perform for me.

Only be.

And may I enter into that,

to delight Your heart?

You are the fullness I desire,

the sustenance I need,

the place where I must live,

the bread that I must eat.

You are the garment I must wear,

the God I must behold.

Let me be in You alone

and therewith be content.

© Debra L. Webster 1992

Lord, help me live in your presence.  You are my favorite address.


One day after leading a bible study I wrote the following in my journal. “Today I realized I can just ‘be’ before Him finally.  I wonder when this happened?  I have been this way for a while.  It was a process.”

Another day I wrote this in my journal “With the busyness of work and life I found myself desperate for Him.  I want to run into His arms and stay there.  During those years (20+) where it appeared nothing was happening. I did not even write articles or poems. Yet, He was at work.  He was turning me into a lover.”

Turned Into a Lover

Another day I wrote this in my journal. “And then the busyness of work and home.  I desire for more time with Him.  I long to write more, teach more, etc. because each of these endeavors helps me draw near to Him. But, I realized that even the busyness can call me to Him; make me desperate for Him. Desperation is good. It keeps me from complacency. Desperation brings me into His presence and helps turn me into a lover.”

“He is the only needful thing. Everything else flows out of the relationship between the Lover and His beloved.”

More than Pain 

So, the idea that only awful circumstances cause growth died a thousand deaths today.  Futility and desperation, pain and busyness and seeking Him with our whole hearts will cause growth if we will let them.” Then these move us toward an end to the futility gods.

graphic letters saying just be. the end of the futility gods


For Reflection:

1.  Listen to the Lord concerning the gods of futility you are serving and write what He shows you.

2.  What word do you use to define your life?  What is your interior identity?  Write this.  (What you write may only be one layer of many over top of the real identity.  This is okay.  We move a step at a time.)

3.  Ask the Lord to give you a new name to replace the name of your present  identity.  (It may take time to develop this understanding).

4.  Seek the Lord for scriptures you can memorize to renew your mind so you one day no longer accept the old name/identity.


Lord, forgive me, for being a performance-based believer, worshiping futility and not receiving your grace.  Forgive me for worshiping other gods and the futility they represent. In fact, they appear ridiculous now.  Yet I will leave this place of prayer and worship them again.  Set me free from the strongholds of rejection, fear of man, fear of poverty and the other fears that motivate my life.  Instead, draw me into repentance each time I serve the other gods and point out what I am doing so I may trust in your grace to change me. Show me the names of the other gods so I can see and end to the futility gods.

Turn Me Into a Lover

There is no one else to whom I can go.  No man can change me.  No man can love me with the love that brings total freedom.  Remind me often that there is nowhere else for me to go.  Help me to just be yours.  In addition, change my identity from the enemies lie to the word you use to define me.  Fill in the statement in my life “I am___________”.  Free me to “be”, to just be yours.

Rejected by Man, Accepted by God


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