At times, I can be a perfectionist, especially in regards to my own spiritual growth. Unfortunately, my inadequacies and shortcomings are constant reminders that my destination is a long way off.
Making a mistake, mistreating someone, saying the wrong words, not feeling adequate, giving in to anger or negative thoughts, not knowing what decision to make, making the wrong decision, etc.—all of these obstacles can be very discouraging.
We may often kick and shame ourselves, meditating on our failures and inadequacies of the past. It can be healthy to feel momentary remorse, but when we continually live in that state it can become destructive, especially when it becomes our identity (how we view ourselves).
It is at these times that I am encouraged by what Paul writes in Philippians 3:12-14:12
"Not that I have already obtained this or am already perfect, but I press on to make it my own, because Christ Jesus has made me his own. 13 Brothers, I do not consider that I have made it my own. But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, 14 I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus."
In light of Paul’s words to the Philippians, I want you to be encouraged today. If past or current mistakes have the best of you, meditate on these 3 thoughts:
1. He has not called us to perfection but to freedom.
It is not by our own striving or abilities that we become like Christ. Have you read the Old Testament? If we make perfection our focus, no matter how ambitious our goals, we will be let down every time. Christ has set us free for the sake of freedom, not perfection. Galatians 2:20 says, “It is for freedom that Christ has set us free.” No longer do we have to kill ourselves over rules and laws to achieve perfection. Perfection is rather the secondary outcome, the fruit, of our relationship with Jesus, not our achievement.
2. Our imperfections cause us to be more dependent on God.
We must realize that our weaknesses cause us to lean on God more. God is looking for our dependence and trust in Him. In fact, our greatest strengths can actually be our greatest downfall because of our self-sufficiency. God desires us to depend on Him, especially in our greatest time of need. Not just for a handout, but so we might draw closer to Him
3. God is more concerned with our direction than our destination.
You are not a finished work. That being said, I have come to believe that God is more concerned with our direction rather than our destination. God has called man to repentance, which means to turn around 360 degrees and walk the opposite way—to change direction. It is God’s job to get us through to the destination; it is our job to keep on walking towards Him in trust. When we divert, we get back on track.