Tonight I asked God why humans are so obsessed with perfection. Even as believers (and sometimes even more so as believers) we often forget that we are born sinners and strive for perfection. Perhaps this fascination with perfection and subsequent aversion we harbor toward (gasp!) mistakes is one reason we find it so hard to allow our Father to give us a hand with that pesky baggage. We try so hard not to sin (often to the point of self-righteousness) and when we do we withhold forgiveness from ourselves as if it is even ours to give.
Every so often the Lord has to remind me that it is He and He alone who can bring about a change in me. When I begin to strive for perfection I begin to see myself as worthy of perfection and consequently I am taking the glory away from Him. When I pass judgment on my own sins instead of turning to God and asking Him for forgiveness I am attempting to do His job. A job for which I am highly unqualified! Besides, if we humans were able to attain perfection on our own we wouldn’t need salvation. Our beautiful, merciful, and loving savior would have died in vain.
This is not to say we should not endeavor to become the true children God created us to be, which means making a valiant effort to turn away from our sins. Oh no! How would we ever reflect God’s unfailing and perfect love if we all stayed exactly the same as when He called us? How would the still lost ever get found? No. We must first believe and invite Jesus to make His home in our hearts. Then we can begin to yield to His gentle and loving correction.
In spite of this truth, I think far too many people have a skewed idea of Christianity. Many (myself included) feel as soon as they get saved they must live perfectly blameless lives or else they are just failures. Many new believers (again, myself included) think that if they are not instantly changed and matured there is something wrong with them. I can’t tell you how many times I have told myself, “Maybe your sins are worse than any others. Maybe you are the one person God cannot forgive.”
Let us not forget, however, that God is not some fancy, deceptive magician. He does not simply touch us with a magic wand and transform us overnight. Not that He couldn’t do this type of magic if He wanted to (trust me – He could), this is just not usually the way He does things. Changes which seem to happen overnight often are only skin deep and rarely last. Our Lord is on to something much bigger! He has started a work in us. A work takes time. A work takes nurturing and love. A work takes a mighty hand to see it through to completion. So instead of beating ourselves down mentally the next time we find ourselves falling short (yet again!), let’s turn our faces to the loving God who has begun something big in us – a complex and intricate work which He sees as worth completing. Remember, He is always faithful to complete His work and always knows what He is doing!