Sunday, August 9, 2009
God Does Not Expect Us to be Perfect
My pastor's message was so powerful today and relevant to our lives that I wanted to pass along a few notes from it. These are completely his thoughts and words to us this morning. His name is Ed Gungor and our church is Sanctuary in Tulsa, OK.
Why do we feel that God wants and expects perfection? He created us to need help in order to live "rightly" and He knows that we can't ever acheive perfection. We read about all kinds of rules and instructions in the Bible that are to be followed and obeyed. He gave us that law so that we may see that we can never make it work. We need help. We need Him. He wants us to always be aware that apart from Him, we can't make it. There is no way to be right without Him. That's why He gave us Jesus. He wants us to be right, in Him, not in our own perfection. He is committed to working with imperfect messy people!
We sometimes feel that if we just lean in a little closer to the rules, get past hurts healed, memorize Scripture, pray longer...we will be perfect. It's like the greyhounds who chase the rabbit, always getting closer and closer, but never quite making it.
God will never touch us in a way where we don't need Him anymore! His touch cleans us like a shower. We'll smell pretty good for a while, but don't be fooled...the stink comes back. That's how He likes it...us always having to come to Him for help and cleansing.
It's like an airplane. We can fly if we get on the thing that flies. We will crash and burn if we try to fly without it. We participate in faith by getting on the One who is flying. God is after His perfection expressed in us...not our perfection! He doesn't give perfection to us, He is perfection in us. It's the same with joy and peace and every other gift. He doesn't give us joy, He is joy in us!
God doesn't dwell on our imperfections. He's not freaked out by them. He was freaked out by sin, but He dealt with that in Jesus! Be friends with God. He's not mad at us, even when we mess up. Run to Him because He's made a way for us. What God is after is our trust in Him to be those things in us that are good and right. God's strength is made perfect when we are weak. Paul boasts in his weaknesses. He did not cover them up. When we learn how to do this, to expose our weaknesses instead of covering them, we will "board the plane that rises above the crud."
Think about the trust fall. Almost everyone has been a part of an exercise where you are supposed to trust the person behind you enought to fall and know that they will catch you. When we are falling backwards, there is something in us that wants to save ourselves. He wants us to see that we can't do it, and we must trust Him to catch us when we fall into sin.
God hates sin because it deceives us. Sin makes us think that God is mad at us. Sin makes us forget our role in the story. We become completely distracted by our sin, then by our feelings of inadequacy from committing the sin. Soon, we begin to believe that it is useless, futile to try to live the life that God has called us to live.
Watch a toddler. When they feel small or insecure or just want love, they lift their arms up for their parents. They want to be brought up to where the parent is. That is where they feel safe and whole and perfect! Raise you arms up to your Father and be perfect in Him!!