Are you trying to be perfect? Are you seeking perfection? This is not about doing things with excellence, that’s something different. This is a case of receiving a performance-based narrative that says you’re worthless unless you’re perfect. It says your worth is found in how well you perform, how you look and live up to expectations. It’s a bold-faced lie. That’s not where your value is found. It’s found in a much higher place than performance; in fact, your ability to perform is the result of who you are. If you mix these up, you’ll ever feel insufficient and worthless. This is one reason so many find themselves in that state. Perfection is unattainable. Even those who place expectations on others, cannot live up to them. What are New Year’s resolutions about? Forgetting all the imperfections of the past, and starting with a clean slate in hopes of living a perfect life. Let’s not kid ourselves, we’re not seeking to merely improve our lives. Deep down, we’re seeking perfection. How many resolutions end the moment there’s some sort of failure? Then there’s that other resolution: becoming a “better Christian.” There’s no such thing. More on that in a moment.
You are better than you think -you’re tremendous! You can’t become tremendous; you already are, so there’s no pressure to perform. In simplest terms, you’re created in the image of God (see Genesis 1:26-27). Psalms 139:14I will praise Thee; for I am fearfully and wonderfully made: marvellous are Thy works; and that my soul knoweth right well. You are actually wonderful, and that’s because He is wonderful. Moreover, you’re a miracle. In mathematical terms, your odds of being born were one in 400 trillion! You are no accident. You are here by design. You’re here because God wants you here, and that means YOU ARE IMPORTANT! You’re not important because some human being says so. Conversely, you’re not irrelevant because a human says so, and that includes a parent or anyone else you hold in high esteem. That means your birthday is significant; it’s not just “another day.”
While it is true the image may have been marred as the result of sin; God remedied that through Jesus Christ. He not only forgave those who receive Jesus Christ; He made them entirely new (see 2 Corinthians 1:17). New as in prototype, not a remake. Not a “do-over,” a complete new beginning in which your past has no bearing on who are in Jesus Christ. We are complete in Him, and that is where we find perfection: in Him! Period! If you’re after a new beginning, it begins with Jesus Christ, not the New Year.
Without realizing it, those who have the aim to become a better Christian will gravitate toward works. It would be easy to slip away from grace in this mode of thinking, because being “better” is performance-based (see Galatians 3:1-29). It moves you away from what Jesus accomplished on the Cross, to trying to make some sort of addition, as if the Cross is not sufficient. Basic Christianity 101 says we’re saved by grace, and works are the result of our new nature (see Ephesians 2:8-10). Can you become more righteous by praying more, giving more, reading your Bible more, or even being more kind to people? If you could, why would you need Jesus? Your righteousness is strictly found in Him (see 2 Corinthians 5:21). It might help to stop comparing yourself to others. Their walk is their walk. The Bible tells us it is not wisdom to compare ourselves to each other (see 2 Corinthians 10:12). But, if you feel inclined to compare yourself with anyone, compare yourself with Jesus. He is The Standard. The praying more, and reading my Bible more thing is based on your efforts. The real issue may be a submission thing in terms of “doing more.” Let Holy Spirit lead you, and don’t worry about what anyone else says or does. Romans 8:14For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God.
Hope deferred makes the heart sick (see Proverbs 13:12). Biblical hope is a positive expectation based on truth, and goes beyond wishful thinking. It has an actual expected end. Without hope, people lose sight of purpose. Without purpose, life loses meaning -there’s no reason to exist. How many find themselves in this condition? How many struggle to merely exist? Some cope by creating reasons to be here. They invent their own purpose, and make plans for a better tomorrow. Many of whom are in constant motion, because if they sit still, they would experience the dread of hopelessness. In short, it robs them of peace and joy.
Individuals defer their own hope by rejecting God. Without Him, there is no purpose for their existence. At the same time, they believe they will not be held accountable for their actions. It gives them the “freedom” to do as they please without consequence, which makes it very convenient when it comes to doing their own thing. Furthermore, they go about trying to fill a God-sized void with things of the world, which in turn leaves them empty. Many will sing about peace, comfort and joy; but, many do not have them. Not only during this season, but all year long. And so it will always for them as long as they reject God.
A good many believe in God, but they still lack joy and peace, because they haven’t taken Him up on His offer found in the Gospel of Luke.
And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid. And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord. And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the Babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger. And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying, Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men (Luke 2:8-14).
Joy and peace are found in His good will toward them. Jesus came to the earth to save humanity, and reconcile us unto God. Joy, comfort and peace come by receiving Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior, and having fellowship with Him. At that point, God becomes Father to those who receive. As a suggestion to you who may fall in this category, ask Jesus to forgive you of your sins. Receive Him as your Lord and Savior. Ask Him to live in your heart. Joy, comfort and peace will come!
Some might say, “I have prayed the prayer, and I still don’t have them!” Well, there is a difference between repeating a prayer, and actually surrendering to God and communing with Him. This isn’t about fire insurance; even though, Jesus saved those who received Him from the wrath to come. It is far more than that. Perhaps, you distanced yourself from Him for whatever reason, and need to return to your First Love. In His presence is fulness of joy (see Psalm 16:11).
Romans 5:5-8And hope maketh not ashamed; because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us. For when we were yet without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly. For scarcely for a righteous man will one die: yet peradventure for a good man some would even dare to die. But God commendeth His love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.
1 Peter 1:3-5Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, which according to His abundant mercy hath begotten us again unto a lively hope by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, To an inheritance incorruptible, and undefiled, and that fadeth not away, reserved in heaven for you, Who are kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.
Receive your King, and so receive peace, comfort and joy. Merry Christmas!
Perspective affects everything. It leads you in the way you interact with others. If your perspective is flawed, you will view others incorrectly, which may lead to becoming critical or judgmental. Consciously or subconsciously, you may also categorize them, which can lead to cases of mistaken identity. Meaning, you believed someone to be a certain way, which in reality, he or she is the opposite. The way you view yourself can play into it as well, but that won’t be addressed here.
Everyone has a story, and every story is important. In fact, it’s a gift! Part of loving others is getting to know them. And that means putting your story on the shelf for a while, so they may tell theirs. It means listening to what they have to say with no other agenda than learning who they are. Their story may reveal how they became who you see in front of you, or at least how they got there. In some cases, you may discover the person before you is not who you thought they were. Moreover, until they can trust you with their story, you may never see their true selves. You’ll only see what they want you to see for the most part. Of course, you may see through the façade, but they’re never going to trust you with their real identity until you are willing to listen with an open heart -without judgment. If they don’t feel safe with you, you’ll never truly know them!
How you listen is important. If you’re distracted with your own story or agenda, you will not hear them correctly, because you’re not truly listening. Be careful of selective hearing. It’s easy to ignore or overlook what is actually being said, if you have predetermined who they are, and looking to prove it. You’ll only hear those things that line up with the way you want to view them. You would be creating a wrong image, should you decide to ignore the truth when it’s presented to you. That is completely unfair! Have you ever had someone dismiss what you had to say, because he or she already made up his or her mind? What did that do for you? Did you feel injustice was served?
If you listen with a pure heart, you will listen well. As you do, you may find your perspective change about the other person -perhaps drastically. In some cases, you may find the judgment you felt toward another, vacate your heart, simply because you listened. One final thought: if a person received Jesus Christ, know he or she is not the same person you once knew. If you knew him or her for a lifetime, it’s important to give them room to change. They aren’t going to be the same old person you once knew. If you fail to recognize it, you may treat him or her unfairly.
2 Corinthians 5:14-17For the love of Christ constraineth us; because we thus judge, that if One died for all, then were all dead: And that He died for all, that they which live should not henceforth live unto themselves, but unto Him which died for them, and rose again. Wherefore henceforth know we no man after the flesh: yea, though we have known Christ after the flesh, yet now henceforth know we Him no more. Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.
Procrastination is a leading cause of regret. So many individuals have lost untold opportunities because of it. And unfortunately, many more will be lost. Like it or not, we’re all running out of time. The day you were born the clock started ticking. With every second, one comes closer to his or her last breath. In whatever length of time one has to live, there will be deadlines throughout his or her lifespan. Decisions to delay actions can be costly on so many levels; and yet, people procrastinate and fail to live up to their fullest potential. Even worse, they neglect their calling. While it is feasible to produce hundred-fold fruit for the Lord, many will settle for 60 or 30. Some even less. Everyone has deep work to do; but, not everyone will finish their assignment. Some will never start.
The idea of having plenty of time is an illusion, because it’s a nonrenewable resource. With that known factor, many put money ahead of time. Conversely, because they don’t make good use of time, others don’t have money. Just as it is written: “Yet a little sleep, a little slumber, a little folding of the hands to sleep: So shall thy poverty come as one that travelleth, and thy want as an armed man” (Proverbs 6:10-11). And yet, those driven by money, who may even accumulate much of it, forget it can be generated, but not so with time. Creating wealth isn’t a bad thing; on the other hand, chasing riches can be an extravagant use of time. Relationships have been lost or never started because of the overemphasis on money. That’s another lesson to consider. But know this: you can miss your calling by having it too high on your list of priorities. Luke 12:15-21And He (Jesus) said unto them, Take heed, and beware of covetousness: for a man's life consisteth not in the abundance of the things which he possesseth . . . But God said unto him, Thou fool, this night thy soul shall be required of thee: then whose shall those things be, which thou hast provided? So is he that layeth up treasure for himself, and is not rich toward God (read entire passage for full context). We all will give an account to the Lord for our allotted time on earth.
Why do people procrastinate? Some might answer, “Because they’re lazy!” It would be easy to assume so, but let’s go deeper. In some cases, it is the lack of belief they can succeed in their calling or given task. People get overwhelmed by what’s ahead, and see no feasible way to finish the race. They drop out before the gun goes off to start it. They simply do not believe they can do it, so why even begin?
Another reason is their personal agenda. They are not interested in the calling of God upon their life, nor any new assignment. They want to do their own thing. For instance, many of those who live in the U.S.A., are caught up in “The American Dream.” They don’t even consider the things of the Kingdom of God, and we’re talking about “Christians.” It ties in with the previous passage in Luke 12. Some want an “ordinary life,” without being bothered with anything Kingdom related. Some are fully aware of their calling, but they put it off, push it away or even reject it. While being saved is not the result of our works, there still are works to be done (see Ephesians 2:8-10). Everyone has a labor of love. If you prefer the American Dream, do you really love the Lord with all your heart, soul, mind and strength? No guilt intended, just a question for self-awareness.
Here’s a common reason for procrastination: fear. The fear of man, and the fear of failure play a big role. Some are imprisoned by other people’s expectations of them. They’re afraid of disappointing them. They’re afraid of rejection. Their deficit of affirmation ties in with the fear of looking foolish if they were to fail. How many prefer human affirmation over God’s? There’s also the fear of success and the fear of loss. Whatever the what may be, it’s still fear. For you who may struggle with it, remember, “Perfect love casts out fear!” Embrace the love of God, and fear will lose its grip on you.
Here’s one more: people are wore out. They’re tired, and it sounds too much like work. Here’s a little secret: you wear out when you do the wrong work. Some claim to be too busy. Being too busy is code for procrastination. When you do what you’re called to do, God’s grace enables you. He refreshes and strengthens those who obey Him. Isaiah 40:31But they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint.
The question is, what will you do with time you have left on earth? Here’s a suggestion: start with asking God what He would have for you. Just a thought!
Do some thoughts interfere with your faith? Do you find yourself getting stuck in thought-loops that hinder you from walking in the Spirit? Does it feel as if some habits you desire to change are always going to there? It’s tempting to become discouraged when you experience these things, but don’t lose heart. We know it’s a question of changing the way we think. Many believers love to quote Romans 12:2 in relation to that process: And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God. This verse alone tells us we can change our thinking by renovating our minds. Moreover, Scripture reveals God is active in the process. Philippians 1:6Being confident of this very thing, that He which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ. How do we renew or renovate our minds? What role do we play in it, if we’re going to see an acceleration in the process? Philippians points out the obvious: it starts with God. But what does that mean for us? We begin by surrendering to Holy Spirit.
1 Corinthians 2:11-12For what man knoweth the things of a man, save the spirit of man which is in him? even so the things of God knoweth no man, but the Spirit of God. Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the spirit which is of God; that we might know the things that are freely given to us of God (be sure to read the entire chapter).
Remember, we are spirit, soul and body. Holy Spirit speaks to our spirit, which in turn speaks to our heart, soul and mind. We cannot truly renew our minds without Him. Acceleration means full cooperation. We can either submit and agree, or rebel and resist. Even though Holy Spirit lives in you, He is not going to make you do anything; He will allow you decide for yourself. You choose! Cooperation ties in with obedience, which is connected to belief. To obey means to believe God with the intent to conform to His desires. So, believe it is possible, simply because God says so. Man’s opinion apart from God has little value. Reject any contrary message you might have believed to be true. For instance, “You will never change!” Is that God’s Word to you? Of course, not. You can do whatever God says you can do. The more you focus on the things of God, the faster you grow. Conversely, the more you focus on the things of the world, the slower the growth.
Philippians 4:8Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.
Ephesians 4:23-24And be renewed in the spirit of your mind; And that ye put on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness.
Colossians 3:10And have put on the new man, which is renewed in knowledge after the image of Him that created him.