Posted: October 19th, 2009 | Filed under: God, life | Tags: | 7 Comments »

Have some of you noticed that we are not yet perfect? –Galatians 2:17

I was asked to be part of a conversation the other day. Two people were going back and forth about the desire to strive for perfection in their Christian lives. I listened as they debated terminology and offered analogies. As I stood there, it became evident that they both wanted to be the best Christian they could be. They just differed on the avenue and approach to achieving perfection.

The goal is noble and the heart bent toward godliness is admirable. However, in all of their considerations, neither of them mentioned Jesus once.

Do we do things for Jesus, or do we allow Him to do them in us?

A person who is keenly aware of their achievement is, by default, fully aware of themselves. It is a badge of time passed and strength built. It is a Babel Tower, not a Sacrificial Lamb.

A person who is keenly aware of their sin is also aware of their need for Jesus. Isaiah’s experience teaches us that when you are aware of your sin, you are in the presence of God.

I do not appear perfect because I refuse to lie about my shortcomings. I am not perfectly moral and do not pretend to be. Choosing to live honestly before God and others avails the opportunity for the shortcomings to be offered up in their entirety in order to be made fully ineffective. The power of the sin is in the lie of the secret.

And are you ready to make the accusation that since people like me, who go through Christ in order to get things right with God, aren’t perfectly virtuous, Christ must therefore be an accessory to sin? –Galatians 2:17-18

If sin gives awareness of the need for Jesus, then sin does not hold the control. God shows sovereignty over sin by turning it into a path to the Savior. Your sin bounces off the presence of God and illuminates your need for Jesus. Sin does not wear Jesus as a necklace.

If you are trying to please God through your own efforts, you are repudiating the sacrifice. If it’s ‘perfection’ you’re after, then release the grip you have on yourself. Freedom is found in the letting go. Jesus is the only way to be made ‘perfect’ and any effort otherwise is a renouncement of your relationship with Him. Taking on the role of savior or achiever in your life is a blatant act of rebellion against the generosity of the gift.

Wanting to be like Jesus is not the problem. The misunderstanding is found in the interpretation of what Jesus stood for. He came to be the sacrifice for Love. If you must strive, strive for Truth. If you want to throw in your efforts for perfection, make the effort to be perfect in Love. Love God with all of your existence and love others the way Jesus loves you. That is a true offering and it’s one that takes no consideration of self.

Is it not clear to you that to go back to that old rule-keeping, peer-pleasing religion would be an abandonment of everything personal and free in my relationship with God? I refuse to do that, to repudiate God’s grace. If a living relationship with God could come by rule-keeping, then Christ died unnecessarily. -Galatians 2:21


7 Comments on “perfect”

  1. 1 Teri Lynne said at 2:19 am on October 19th, 2009:

    I love this … I have been working through the same process and wrote recently that I am no longer pursuing "authenticity" … I am only pursuing Christ. What freedom in that!!

  2. 2 Sisterlisa said at 3:52 am on October 19th, 2009:


    About 'letting go', that seems to be so hard for people, because all they know is how to be the external Christian. They live in fear of letting go of all that, because they have had it drilled into their heads that they must 'do' in order to please God. We are an alabaster box of pride and self will that must be broken so His Holy Spirit can flow from us. He is the Oil that anoints us and we have no oil of our own to be anointed with. We must be broken.

  3. 3 mandie said at 7:01 am on October 19th, 2009:

    Such a good reminder: Don't try to be perfect, but model your life after Jesus. Thank you, Serena!

  4. 4 April said at 7:17 am on October 19th, 2009:

    Sadly, it seems to me that churches that do not train their sheep to boast only in the righteousness of the Cross of Christ, but are frequently carried into other controversies and debates, or pride themselves in a lack of rules and regulations, can equally create a breeding ground for self-righteous legalism.

  5. 5 April said at 7:20 am on October 19th, 2009:

    A little off subject, I think… but, I've been wrestling with the whole legalism thang!! I actually love what one preacher said in my parents church on why he doesn't drink… "You can call me a legalist if you want to"…. sometimes we're so afraid of being slapped with a label and considered odd to be passing up the pretty drink with the umbrella, that we do it because everyone else does and it's cool… just a thought.

  6. 6 Reborn said at 9:19 am on October 19th, 2009:

    "when you are aware of your sin, you are in the presence of God."

    AMEN! This has been my discovery lately.

    April, I think a lot of churches unintentionally create a climate where only legalism can grow… and love withers. But it's my hope that with the growing number of voices like Serena's challenging the old attitude, that will start to change!

  7. 7 April said at 2:46 am on October 20th, 2009:

    Right… also, we tend to follow people instead of Christ!

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