when we try to strive for perfection
Time and time again, I hit the wall the same way I always do. I try to accomplish, I try to make my way to perfection and somehow earn my salvation or more likely, earn love. Only to realize, every single time, that I could not be further away from perfection and there is no way I will ever even get close. Even though it comes as no surprise, it somehow hurts every time to realize that. And I think I am not the only one here.
“For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast. For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.” (Eph. 2:8-10)
Some days, there is doubt in our hearts and no matter where we turn, it feels like we are not enough and need to do more. There are times when it even steals our breath, this feeling of never being enough and doing enough and just wanting to be useful but not quite accomplishing that.
The important thing to know is, that these are the times we cannot let our emotions guide us (can we ever, though?). This is the time to lean on the precious Truth that bought and redeemed us with a price. Truth that declares us chosen and sanctified. Truth that calls us precious and loved. This Truth, beautiful and full of grace, is the one we need to focus our eyes on when we want to tell ourselves that our worth comes from somewhere else. This Truth is one we need to focus on when we feel like we are not enough. It is all His doing, and not ours, after all.
We can be se free only when we realize we are bound — bound by sin, bound by shame, bound by fear, bound by our need to control or be perfect. So we need to pray, to be able to see where we are bound so that the Lord can break our chains and come set us free.
“For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come, nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (Romans 8:38-39)
Like Pastor Don McClure put so well in his sermon once: There was only one rule as for who Jesus would raise from the dead. Only one rule — they had to be dead to be resurrected. But for Him to love you? Oh, nothing can come between. There is nothing that can separate us from His love; nothing in us that can bring us closer to His love. He is there, for us and with us at all times. He loves us because He is Love.
There is nothing we can accomplish by reaching perfection because the one way Jesus can die for our sins is for us to realize that we are, indeed, dead in our sins. The one way Jesus can use us for His glory is for us to submit to Him and trust that He will use us and in our season, the fruit will come.
May we pray with Paul that “Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith; that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the width and length and depth and height— to know the love of Christ which passes knowledge; that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.” (Eph. 3:17-19)