Jerry Bridges says in his book Discipline of Grace - "Your worst days are never so bad that you are beyond the reach of God's grace. And your best days are never so good that you are beyond the need of God's grace."
I love this truth. In Christ, we're never too far from getting what we don't deserve and we're never not in need of it. It all depends on His grace and never depends on our performance. We just respond to His goodness and grace. When we think of it that way, the need to perform and please people fades and the desire to please God exudes from us. When we are fixed on His character and his goodness, we fall more and more in love with Him (Hebrews 12:1-2).
The Galatians struggled with performance and lost their joy in God because of it. Paul says in Galatians 4:5, "What has happened to all you joy?" I think this is the pivotal statement in Galatians. The Galatians were trying to please God by human effort (Galatians 3:3) and not depending on His Spirit and grace for joy, comfort, peace and guidance like they did when they first believed. They started out with grace but went back to performance - which ultimately causes confusion, discomfort, and pride. I fall into this trap sometimes - the performance trap. I constantly need to be reminded that we perform/obey/submit to God because of the gospel - not so we can look good or be congratulated by God.
The author of Hebrews was tackling some similar issues in Hebrews 13:9, "It is good for our hearts to be strengthened by grace." They were looking around at each other, comparing one another's holiness, and losing their joy that can only be strengthened by grace.
The gospel doesn't end after we first believe - it's a daily thing. We're saved when the Holy Spirit connects us to faith in Jesus (John 3:3-8) but daily I have to remind myself the truth of Colossians 1:22. I'm no longer separated from God. I am holy in his sight, without blemish and free from accusation. I'm completely innocent and perfect in His sight because of Jesus and nothing that I've done! Each day his mercy and grace is renewed in my life! This is not a licensee to sin or abuse His grace but a truth that sets us free to live!
His grace is why I will submit, follow, and obey today. It causes me to be in love with Him and tell others about Him. His grace clears it up for me. I don't want to please people or even attempt to earn His stamp of approval. I fall way short (Romans 3:23). Jesus does not. I'll respond to His grace and follow Him today.
Hebrews 13:9 - "It is good for our hearts to be strengthened by grace."