They’ve all been counselors over summer at our local Bible camp, and I will be giving them a message tomorrow night.
After mentoring a few of them over summer and having to turn down some who desired her input into their lives (because she is just one woman with two babies and a husband), my new friend was moved by the Lord to love on all 50 of the girls, if they choose to come, before they head back in to the real world.
To serve them a lovely three-course dinner and a mug of LOVE on the side. And after dessert, there are break-out sessions for more personal connection and growing. We will be telling them of how they are uniquely created, perfectly loved, individually called, and specially chosen for a mission designed for them by God.
A week later they will be headed back out into the real world. The one with all it’s challenges and it’s expectations, all it’s pressures and it’s megaphone of conflicting messages. Out there where the voices are loud and the earth moves swiftly. Or so it seems.
And people have written books BestYes & Restless & SoulRest to help us winnow our souls, to enable us to discern the best path. To put off guilt and shame and ceaseless striving for perfection spinning more plates than we can manage.
I will make the statement tomorrow: True or False? People are perfect. The initial response to such a statement (no doubt you had one when you read the title of this post) is likely “Hello!- WHAAT?” It is ridiculous to make such a statement. We are logical creatures-mostly.
But as I am preparing for this message, it occurs to me how we expect it to be true in our hearts even though our heads know better.
Funny how we are.
When we feel inferior, we are expecting perfection of ourselves.
When we point a finger, we are expecting perfection of another.
I did some meditating on Philipians 2:3
Do nothing from selfish ambition or vain conceit, but with humility of mind regard one another as more important than yourselves.
And it appeared to me one was under and one was over.
One was inferior. One was superior.
Selfish ambition: (I want to promote myself because I feel lower -i am idolizing- “they are god, i am scum”)
Vain conceit: (I am looking down at others -judging- i am superior “I am god, they are scum”)
And the antidote to my shriveled up self or my puffed up pride is stated within the verse: “with humility of mind…”
The quest for perfection and the expectations for perfection are based purely on pride. Hows that for an oxymoron? Pure pride.
Here is what God says about favoritism:
But the wisdom from above is first of all pure. It is also peace loving, gentle at all times, and willing to yield to others. It is full of mercy and the fruit of good deeds. It shows no favoritism and is always sincere.
If we look at people, that is when we misjudge. That is when we lose the light, forget the truth, and fall into the sin -the trap- of comparison where we get off center, we turn to the right or the left and trash one another or ourselves.
We do this by keeping our eyes on Jesus, the champion who initiates and perfects our faith. Because of the joy awaiting him, he endured the cross, disregarding its shame. Now he is seated in the place of honor beside God’s throne.
He PERFECTS our faith when we see Him. He alone is perfect. Looking to anything else for our satisfaction of our deepest desire -to- live fully is bondage.
Aren’t you so grateful for His gracious love in giving us His word to get us on center and guide us in living free?
One way I find to keep my eyes on Jesus is by reading His word and praising Him for His creation. I see Him there. Where do you see Him?
My wise friend Susie Larson often says, “You GET to be a work in progress!” … and I shudder at the thought of having to be perfect. Thank you Jesus, for grace and that we are ALL a work-in-progress!