So you have it all together, right?
Does anyone ever feel they have it all together? There is a popular song, which I love, that says “the Cross made me flawless.” And even though I know what it is trying to say, I don’t always feel flawless. I feel imperfect, incomplete at times. If that is also your experience, how do you handle it? How would you complete the sentence, “I’m not perfect, but...?
Did you know that the Bible never expects us to be perfect in the sense of being flawless? The Bible is utterly realistic. Nowhere does it suggest that we can get through life without making mistakes (now you can breathe). Nowhere does it teach that someone might get by with all the T’s crossed and the I’s dotted and always have it all together. In fact, it runs in exactly the opposite direction. The Bible says, “ALL (not a few, not several, not even quite a lot) have sinned and come short of the glory of God.” ALL without exception (Romans 3:23). But while it teaches us that fact, it does tell us we can become perfect in another sense of the word. It tells us we can become mature. Perfection means becoming what God designed us to be.
Let’s go back to the statement, “I’m not perfect, but…” How would you finish that sentence? There are two ways one can finish that sentence. The first is, “I’m not perfect but neither is anyone else. The second is, “I’m not perfect but I am working on it. I’m trying.” I am sorry to tell you that neither one of these answers are good. If you say you are the same as everyone else, remember that when the Bible speaks of perfection, it means fulfilling God’s purposes – it means being mature, grown up, developed. It is being what God has called you to be and do, not what somebody else is or does.
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When we are satisfied with being like everyone else, we are not looking at what God designed us to be. We’re settling for good enough, and good enough is not good enough. We cannot measure ourselves by ourselves. You are a unique, special individual designed by God. To find what He wants for your life and to follow it is the standard of your success. No one else can do what you have been called to do. It is only when you see that, only when you know your own specialness, that perfection will be in sight.
The second answer to “I’m not perfect, but….” Might be, “But I’m working on it. I’m trying. I’m trying to do better, I’m making a list and checking it twice.” I think we’ve probably all said that. Remember those New Year’s resolutions? How did that work out for you?
The problem here is that we are making it all about ourselves. We’re making it all a matter of our own accomplishments. We think that if we just do a little more, work a little harder, push ourselves a little faster, we’ll finally get it all together. But then it’s all about us and none of it is about God and it only leads to a bad case of frustration.
Ephesians 2:8-10 says, “For by grace are you saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: not of works lest any man should boast. For we are His workmanship created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.”
Remember, because of Christ’s death on the cross, by His righteousness and His alone that we are righteous, mature, made perfect.
Gil Kinney is pastor of Real Life Assembly in Fort Mill.