Saturday, July 15, 2017

Holiness Does Not Equal Perfection

"Being made strong in weakness is not about achieving perfection, 
it's about getting back up and trying again."

I got a book from the library a couple of days ago called Food: The Good Girl's Drug. I am only a few chapters in, but I am already recognizing some of the long-held conflicting messages I have believed my entire life about food and how each of them have contributed to my unhealthy obsession with it. Because I am sick of this horrid cycle of losing and then gaining back, I have been intentionally seeking God on this issue. It's one of the reasons I ordered the book The Look That Kills by Michelle Myers because she told me it was a book ultimately about surrender. The coupling of those two books with Gospel by J D Greear has been nothing short of amazing in opening my eyes to so many things.

One of the things I did as soon as I finished Michelle's book was write down a list of questions that I needed to answer for myself. I have about 3 solid pages of questions to go through. While she has great questions at the end of each chapter, I realized I needed things that would go deeper into the challenges I am working through.

One of the analogies she puts forth in the book is the idea of getting a new pair of jeans. She talks about how the new jeans are perfect and fit flawlessly and therefore you should never want to put on your old, ill-fitting jeans. She correlates this example with what Paul writes in 2 Corinthians 5:17 that if anyone is in Christ they are a new creation and that the old has gone. So if Jesus makes us new, why would we revert back to our old selves?

However........this example made me realize something about myself that I don't think I would have otherwise.

Most people, most normal people anyway, enjoy getting new clothes. Like really enjoy it. Some people are so anxious about new clothes they have to wear them immediately. Some who have a little bit more patience at least wash them first. I fit into neither of these categories. I like getting new clothes, but I am terrified of wearing them. It's to the point that I will often go out of my way to not wear them, or wear them when I know they will only be on for a short period of time and that there will be no food or drink involved while I am in them. Why? Because I am terrified of ruining them.

It occurred to me as I realized this about myself, that I view my new life in Christ this exact same way. I know the depth of disbelief that still lingers over certain areas of my life and I continually hold them back because I am afraid that my failure, shortcomings, and faults are somehow going to taint him and ruin his reputation because I am not able to hold up my end of being made strong in my weaknesses. But what I'm finally beginning to see is that being made strong in weakness is not about achieving perfection, it's about getting back up and trying again.

There are miracles in the Bible where just the touch of Jesus miraculously healed. And there are miracles where his words alone delivered people from their ailments. But there are also people who knew what he was about and capable of but still struggled with their flesh and what they thought was most important. #Martha And my guess is, that even after that encounter where Jesus told her that her sister was doing the most important thing, she still wrestled with correctly prioritizing her to do list.

Every day I am becoming more keenly aware of how desperately I need to preach the gospel to myself. It's only through the gospel that I will ever be an overcomer of the many things that have been overcoming me. But I am no longer going to focus on achieving perfection that isn't possible while I am drawing breath. Instead, I'm going to choose progress and the truth that God's continual and amazing grace will see me through as I work towards the holiness to which he has called me. Because even if I struggle to believe it with my whole heart, he still calls me his treasured possession.

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