August 16, 2010

Perfection

Other people have posted on or near this subject recently, about the pressure to be "perfect," the perfect wife, the perfect mom, the perfect employee, whatever. As my (former) pastor said once, "Women nowadays feel they have to have the bodies of gladiators, minds of geniuses and constitutions of iron - no room for vulnerability." I think he's right.

perfection style needle work pictures, backgrounds and images

Probably, we would all admit that, on some level, we want to be whatever our definition of "perfect" is (allowing for the fact that one person's perfect isn't necessarily another person's perfect). The problem is, in all of human history, there was only one person that ever walked the earth who really was perfect - Jesus Christ. The rest of us are simply...human.


Does that frustrate you? Does the idea that you might fall short somewhere stress you out? If so, you aren't alone. Not at all. And I won't even say you're wrong to feel that way. What I do want to say is, there is relief to be found.

The desire to be perfect is, I believe, a trait inherent in our soul. We all somehow instinctively feel that, not only is perfection a goal to be reached, it is a goal we can reach if we just work hard enough. And that's a dangerous idea. Why? Because it opens us up to being manipulated. That's why cults have such strong holds on people. A cult will affirm your innate need for perfection, and then give you a "simple" list of 100s of rules to help you attain perfection. The problem is, of course, we aren't perfect, will fail, and can never meet any rule-based standard of perfection.


Think of the 10 Commandments. 10 simple rules, and yet who in all of history - other than Jesus - has ever been able to keep all of them? Who has never lied? Who has never stolen anything, even something insignificant?

I have to confess, I am practically a klepto when it comes to pens. At one job I had, I used to keep a pen in my purse "just in case we ran out at work." Of course, they were work pens that started accumulating at my house, and I had no intention of taking them back. Would my bosses have cared? Probably not. But that's not the point, is it?

I'm not saying we shouldn't strive for excellence. In fact, even Jesus said to "be perfect, even as your Father in Heaven is perfect." (Matt. 5:48) Was Jesus giving us an unrealistic standard to live up to? Was He wanting to increase our natural anxiety when it comes to perfection? Of course not!

How do we know? Because He didn't leave us to struggle for perfection on our own. Hebrews 10 outlines the true intentions God has with respect to perfection for the human race, from showing how the Law (that is, the 10 Commandments and the other laws in what we call the Old Testament) were created to point people to Jesus and to desire for Him to come, to explaining how "by one offering He (Jesus) hath perfected forever them that are sanctified." (Heb. 10:14)

That's the beauty of the Law. It wasn't given to tell us how to become perfect. It was given to show us that, the truth is, we can't become perfect on our own. We need something - someone - to do that for us. We need Jesus.

And when you become a child of God through salvation by adoption (Eph. 1:5), God considers you perfect - "and their sins and iniquities I will remember no more." (Heb. 10:17) Can I get an 'Amen'??

How do you become a child of God? It is something you have to become. But, like perfection, it can't be earned. It can't be achieved and it can't be bought. "For by grace you are saved through faith. and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God. Not of works, lest any man should boast." (Eph. 2:8-9) Yes, like the annoying song says, "You gotta have faith." And faith is a gift from God unto salvation, adoption, perfection. People call it different things - but it all means "perfect in God's eyes, worthy of Heaven and a child of God."

You can't work for it. You can't earn it. You can't be "good enough" for God to adopt you. He knows that, and He doesn't work like that.

I'm reading a book right now called "Twelve Ordinary Men," about the 12 apostles. I'm only part-way through, but the overall theme is to show how God chooses flawed, imperfect, ordinary people. On purpose. "But God hath chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise; and God hath chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty." (1 Cor. 1:27)

Isn't that a great message?

I hope this has encouraged you. I hope, if you are a child of God, that you will allow yourself to rest in His perfection and in His desire to use the weak things to do great and mighty things in the world! And if you aren't yet a child of God, I hope you think about this discussion this week and investigate it further. There is no more important decision to be made than to enter God's family. Examine your heart, and ask God if that desire to be perfect that He put in you isn't there to point you toward the path to true perfection - salvation in Jesus, the Messiah.

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8 comments:

  1. Thank you so much for posting this. I needed it...and I didn't even know it. I'm forever trying to be perfect - the perfect house, hair, body, clothes, shoes...everything. I don't know why. I *know* the truth... Why is it that we always think that we can handle it all? Or rather, that we can handle the small stuff and leave the big stuff for God. Really we can't handle any of it and we end up being disappointed. I definitely needed the reminder. =)

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  2. This is beautiful and so inspiring. I agree we cannot possibly do it ourself, we must do it through God, with him.

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  3. This is great, thanks for taking the time to post about it =)

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  4. I really liked this post!
    Thank you!

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