Perfectly Imperfect!

I slipped into sleep last night thanking God for loving me not because I am good enough but because He is gracious. I know my short-comings too well.  Occasionally pride creeps up with its ugly thoughts of others. Yes, sometimes I lose sight of what is of true worth and I begin to think that some trinket will make me a happier and better person.  Ego rises and I become self-serving. Hypocrisy sometimes creates a gap between my reality and the image created for public view. Yes, I sometimes allow doubt and fear to eclipse faith. I complain and wonder why God does not do what I want Him to do.  I struggle sometimes with love and forgiveness.  

Perhaps after those confessions you’re thinking about ‘cancelling’ me!   Our culture is fond of remembering the unacceptable words and actions of others, shaming them, and consigning them to the scrap heap of life without a thought of redemption.

There is no escaping the truth that Paul first confessed – “This is a faithful saying, and worthy of all acceptation, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners; of whom I am chief.” (1 Timothy 1:15, KJV) This is not false humility. These words are the apostle’s statement of his spiritual bankruptcy contrasted with God’s rich and restoring grace.

Here is what I know at the very core of my being –
the God Who knows me best, loves me most!  

He does not cancel me, forsake me, or write me off. He offers me a gift, that which I could never hope to attain by my own efforts. What is it? Righteousness!  That word means that He, because of grace and the work of Christ, gives me a place at His table, replaces the rags of my self-righteousness with the rich robes of His perfect righteousness. Amazing, and true.

Hearing of God’s grace and love some fall into the mistaken conclusion that how they live matters little to God. Paul writes about our salvation which encompasses all our sin and urges us to know this. “Well then, should we keep on sinning so that God can show us more and more kindness and forgiveness? Of course not! Since we have died to sin, how can we continue to live in it?” (Romans 6:1-2, NLT)  Christians live as ‘becomers,’ knowing that we are not yet all we should be and yet refusing to live in the misery of shame and guilt.

The NT challenges us to grow up in Christ, to be the holy people of God. The goodness of God which is to radiate from our lives cannot shine brightly where we are content to be mired in self-will, greedy materialism, sensuality, and pride. Yes, as I said a moment ago, we do slip into the mud sometimes. We fall down!  Perfection is simply outside of our present experience. Who does not identify with this from Romans 7? “It seems to be a fact of life that when I want to do what is right, I inevitably do what is wrong. I love God’s law with all my heart.” (Romans 7:21-22, NLT)  But, we look up, make an honest confession agreeing with the Holy Spirit’s assessment of our behavior, receive God’s grace, and get up!  

Here is where we can live by faith. “With the arrival of Jesus, the Messiah, that fateful dilemma is resolved. Those who enter into Christ’s being-here-for-us no longer have to live under a continuous, low-lying black cloud. A new power is in operation. The Spirit of life in Christ, like a strong wind, has magnificently cleared the air, freeing you from a fated lifetime of brutal tyranny at the hands of sin and death.” (Romans 8:1-2, The Message)

When we know God’s grace, humbly acknowledging the gift, we will be set free from the need to judge and condemn others. Our pastor at Faith Discovery Church spoke yesterday of his vision that our fellowship would be a place where people are welcomed and accepted, where we see the potential of God’s grace in every person. To that I say a loud “Amen!”  

Are you perfectly imperfect?  True is, we all are.  We are, together, becoming the people of God.  Here is a word from the Word. I pray it will guide us to live near the heart of our Father – beloved children, gifted with grace, called to be holy. “Yes, dear friends, we are already God’s children, and we can’t even imagine what we will be like when Christ returns. But we do know that when he comes we will be like him, for we will see him as he really is. And all who believe this will keep themselves pure, just as Christ is pure.” (1 John 3:2-3, NLT)

(Video of this blog at this link)
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We Fall Down

(Bob Carlisle sings the song of faith)

Cursing ev’ry step of the way
He bore a heavy load
To the market ten miles away
The journey took its toll
And ev’ry day he passed
A monastery’s high cathedral walls
And it made his life seem
Meaningless and small

And he wondered how it would be
To live in such a place
To be warm well fed and at peace
To shut the world away
So when he saw a priest
Who walked for once
Beyond the iron gate
He said tell me of your life
Inside that place
And the priest replied

We fall down we get up
We fall down we get up
We fall down we get up
And the saints are just the sinners
Who fall down and get up

Disappointment followed him home
He’d hoped for so much more
But he saw himself in a light
He had never seen before
‘Cause if the priest who fell
Could find the grace of God to be enough
There must be some hope
For the rest of us
Then there must be some hope
Left for us

‘Cause we fall down we get up
We fall down we get up
We fall down we get up
And the saints are just the sinners
Yeah the saints are just the sinners
Who fall down and get up

We fall down we get up
We fall down we get up
We fall down we get up
And the saints are just the sinners
Who fall down we get up
We fall down we get up
We fall down we get up
And the saints are just the sinners

We fall down we get up
We fall down we get up
We fall down we get up
And the saints are just the sinners

Yeah the saints are just the sinners
Who fall down and get up

Kyle David Matthews

© 1997 Universal Music – Brentwood Benson Publishing (Admin. by Brentwood-Benson Music Publishing, Inc.)

CCLI License # 810055

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