August 27, 2011

perfection, again


I so much want to be perfect.  To do it "right."  And my failure is so much in my face.  Am I the only one out there who deals with this?  I just want to raise my children right, I want to love well, I want to be the right wife for my Farmer, I want to keep house right.  I want to be, well, like my Father God, and I fall so short.

Actually .... oh, dear, I hate it when a post changes direction on me in the second paragraph .... Maybe it's not my imperfection that's the problem, here.  Maybe it's my pride.  [gulp]

The Bible (which I believe) says that "all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God" (Romans 3:23), so my own falling short should not come as shocking news to me.  It definitely would not be news to my Maker.  And yet, that same Bible does not report that he is impatiently pacing Heaven's halls, pulling out his hair over my deplorable inability to measure up to him.  How can that be?!  I sure am!!

What are my Father's views on my failings?

"As a father has compassion on his children, 
so the Lord has compassion on those who fear him;
for he knows how we are formed,
he remembers that we are dust."    
(Psalm 103:13-14)

And, in his own description of himself, he is:

"The LORD, the LORD, the compassionate and gracious God, 
slow to anger, abounding in love and faithfulness, maintaining love to thousands, 
and forgiving wickedness, rebellion and sin."  
(Exodus 34:6-7)

John the disciple, the "one Jesus loved", tells us of this same Jesus that "if we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness."  (I John 1:9)  No prescription there for tearing out hair or beating self up.  Just confess - basically say "what I did was sin" - and my Father, who "remembers that I am dust", will not only forgive my sin, but cleanse me from all unrighteousness.  Now that is a good deal, is it not?  (especially considering the alternative:  hell, which I also believe in.  Hmmm, humility or hell?  Looks like a no-brainer to me.)

So if it is no surprise to God that I am going to fall short of his glory (perfect love), and if he remembers that I am, after all, mere dust, and if he promises to forgive my failings and wash me of them .... then why do I waste time agonizing over my failings instead of just showing up at the Throne for a bath?  (Hebrews 4:16  "Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.")

Must be I've forgotten that I'm mere dust.  Human, not god.  And that, my friends, breaks the very first commandment:  You shall have no other gods before me.  (Exodus 20:3)

Time for confession and a bath . . .

"Have mercy on me, O God,
according to your unfailing love!
According to your great compassion
blot out all my transgressions!
Wash away all my iniquity
and cleanse me from my sin.....
Cleanse me with hyssop, and I will be clean;
wash me, and I will be whiter than snow."
(Psalm 51:1-2, 7)

"Do you not know that the wicked will not inherit the kingdom of God? ... And that is what some of you were.  But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of God."  (I Corinthians 6:9, 11)

Look at the good news that is too often omitted at the end of the oft-quoted "all have sinned" sentence: 

"for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus."  (Romans 3:23 & - praise God - 24)

My Father God doesn't just watch me fall short of his glory - he grants me grace, freely, to go on in his power, "being transformed into his likeness with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit." (2 Corinthians 3:18).  If he will do this for me, he will do it for you, too.  Just ask him and see.

"for it is God who works in you to will and to act according to his good purpose."  Philippians 2:13


  1. Ah yes. Pride in its various forms has been lifelong struggle for me as well, I'm afraid. That's exactly why I'm so shocked and disappointed by my failings (when I recognize them.) Grace is the only antidote, as you said.

  2. Grace is truly amazing - and too often mis-defined (is that a word??). Grace is not mercy, but power. I've been trying to organize my thoughts on that for a post, sometime....


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