Is Perfection Possible?
Perfection. Many of us want it, but I’ll venture a guess that none have achieved it. I’m not sure when my desire for perfection began, but I distinctly remember that in response to reading the Bible as a young’un I resolved to follow all the rules and be the “perfect” Christian. Then I could accept God’s love.
Shoot, I wish I could go back and tell that girl that God does not desire perfection. But he does desire a heart that is devoted to running to him when we mess up. Because we will mess up.
I used to make myself perform penance in the form of shame and wallowing in the metaphorical dirt, remaining there until I felt sufficient time had passed to allow the Lord to forgive me. The length of wallow-time was dependent on my opinion of the severity of the infraction. Good grief.
The truth is, we can’t be perfect. In Romans 3:23, Paul says “all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” (ESV) Later, in Romans 7, Paul talks about knowing what is right, yet he still sometimes does the opposite. I take great comfort in the fact that even Paul wasn’t perfect.
This does not give us a free pass to do whatever we want though. When it comes to sin, we strive to follow Jesus and walk in righteousness.
Today I was talking with a friend and we discussed a few things that brought my desire for perfection front and center. The first topic was sin. The second was imperfection.
After years of following Jesus, I have come to the realization that I sin. Shocker, I know. There are times when my actions, motivations, thoughts, and spoken words do not reflect the heart of God for myself and the people around me that he loves.
This has become evident as he gently reminds me through his Spirit and the Word that there is a better way in a given situation. I think I am getting better at repenting, correcting the problem, and then forgiving myself instead of living in a shame storm. It takes me a bit to get over the sting, but I’ll be practicing this the rest of my life, so I’m sure to get faster at it.
What still completely trips me up is imperfection. Getting one bad review at work despite the 99 positive ones, making a mistake, or trying something new and not being the best in the room. None of these are sin, and yet my gut reaction is shame and disappointment. Instead of thinking “that’s one person’s opinion” or “I need practice and training to get better,” I think, “you are terrible and should be embarrassed.”
This happened to me not too long ago, and I discussed my embarrassment with God while journaling. His response was “Are you human?” (Me: Yes.) “Are you perfect?” (Me: No.) and “Are you sure you know that?” (Me: Zing! Ouch, God!) This illustrates the fact that while I know in my brain that I’m not perfect, I still expect perfection from myself and beat myself up when I fall short.
Am I alone in that? I bet someone can relate. This kind of thinking holds us back from trying new things, taking a risk, or attempting anything at all unless we are sure we will succeed.
What’s the motivation behind it? Fear of failure, fear of imperfection, and fear of others’ opinions. The common denominator: FEAR.
I don’t know about you, but I for one, do NOT want to make decisions about what I can and can’t do because of fear.
Do you know who is perfect…always? God the Father. His perfect love casts out fear.
“There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love.”1 John 4:18 (NIV)
God doesn’t need us to be perfect in everything we set our hands to. And he won’t punish us when we don’t measure up. He does want us to abide, rest, and stay close to Him and his son, Jesus, who is living inside us.
Jesus is perfect and he loves us perfectly. Our weakness is an opportunity to call on his strength and perfect love to come to our rescue.
I had a friend tell me recently: “If I was perfect then I’d never need God. I am thankful for my imperfection which is an opportunity for him to show off his love, power, and strength in my life.”
Dance Like A Queen
One last note. Have you ever seen a child with an abundance of confidence try something new? It’s a sight to behold. They are 100% positive that they are out there crushing it. Whether it’s dancing, jumping super high, or running Superman fast, they know they are pretty great!
This comes from knowing deep down that their parents are proud of their effort, no matter the outcome. Their love is constant and unchanged by performance.
I want to have that confidence in my Father’s love. His perfect love for me allows him to be proud when I do my best but maybe don’t dance as gracefully or jump as high as the other person. I am loved for who I am. Imperfection doesn’t equal failure in his eyes. Praise God for that!
To illustrate that I’ve learned this lesson, I will cease to worry about how I didn’t have enough time to make this the perfect blog post. I’ll submit it and pray that God blesses you with the words he wants to speak to you today. 💜
I’d love to hear from you! Let me know if I can pray for you this week. Also, you can subscribe to my newsletter so that you don’t miss any encouraging posts.