How many of you strive for perfection? Seeking to be the ultimate best that you can be? Well, I can tell you, I have and still do struggled with this, especially in my walk as a born-again Christian. I desperately crave to be like Jesus, to be transformed into the image of Him, but that is where this thought process and innocent desire can start to be warped into a different mindset. We cannot in our own strength be anything like Jesus. That is completely done by the influence of the Holy Spirit and the grace of God. And so I thought it would be relevant in my own life as well as my brothers and sisters in Christ to talk about being authentic rather than “perfect”.
Something that took me a while to understand, without even realizing it, is that God desires us to be real, true, authentic. Though He knows every part of our beings, He wants us to be genuine in our hearts as well as actions. So, is it wrong to crave being like Jesus? Absolutely not. But the problem is when we want to be “as” Jesus instead of “like” Him. This can very quickly turn into a very legalistic way of thinking and that can cause us to stumble in our walk with the Lord. It becomes very easy to develop a prideful spirit which definitely creates a hurdle for us and our relationship with our Lord, Jesus Christ.
John 8:12 says “When Jesus spoke again to the people, he said, ‘I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.'” This is what we should fervently be seeking after: to follow Him and be transformed but the Holy Spirit. Christ wants to see us turn from our ways of sin, following and seeking after Him wholeheartedly, so that we can be made new, completely transformed. “And we all, who with unveiled faces contemplate the Lord’s glory, are being transformed into his image with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit“, 2 Corinthians 3:18. The Holy Spirit is what gives us the ability to live a life modeled after Christ. That is it- there is nothing we can do in our own abilities to try and accomplish the impossible task of perfection.
Let me tell you a short story about myself: I absolutely love drawing; with pencil, with pen, with paint or chalk. Whatever utensil I am given, I will use it to not only create a work of art, but fall in love with the beautifully messy process. Now, part of being an artist means that I am hardly ever happy with a piece I have created until everything is absolutely perfect. Even if another person thinks it is beautiful and doesn’t need anything changed, I will still work work work until I am pleased with it. I know that we can get this way in our walks as believers. But something that I want to bring to your attention that the Lord revealed to me is that this life is crazy, and we are a beautiful mess. God loves us to the point of sacrificing His own Son so that we can be with Him one day, and He knows our inmost being. He knows how corrupted we are and how sinful we can be Like it is said in Matthew, He knows every hair upon our heads. So He knows that it is impossible for us to reach the level of perfection required to have eternal life. That is why Jesus’ sacrifice and resurrection is absolutely vital in our walk as Christians.
Now that does not mean that we are to sit stagnant in our sin and never grow or strive to be more like Christ. But we need to come to a place where we accept that we are sinful, that we have many, many imperfections and that we are not worthy of God’s love. In order for us to truly be authentic, we must accept who Christ made us to be, and then we will witness the Holy Spirit working in us and through us in ways we never would have imagined. Being authentic and genuine matters so much more than being perfect or the best.
Also, something I believe we should all take note of, myself included, is the fact that when we see other people, both believers and non-believers, we tend to look at how “perfect” they are. Their job, their marriage, their children, their home and car; so many other things that can get in our way a cloud our vision from what truly matters. The truth is, there is no such thing as a perfect person or a perfect life. There is only a perfect God. You don’t know what goes on behind the scenes in someones life, and I have noticed that the enemy feeds this idea of malcontent and will turn that into coveting, jealousy and even anger towards God. So when you see others and start thinking about how you “wish your life could be as perfect as theirs”, remember this: the only things that someone can have that is perfect is Christ in their lives. That is it.
Believe me when I tell you that I often find myself worrying about being the perfect Christian instead of being a real, true christian. This way of thinking is not honoring to the Lord nor does it help to strengthen our walk with the Lord. The only thing it does is leaves a stronghold for the enemy to use in order to knock us off our feet and take our eyes off of Christ. I am in constant prayer for a spirit of humility, of compassion, of gentleness, of self-control. “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, long-suffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law.” Galatians 5:22-23. These are the attributes of a real follower of Christ that allows the Holy Spirit to bless them with the fruits described in Galatians. When we are able to admit we are sinners in need of a savior, we start to realize the beauty of being genuine rather than putting on a facade in order to look or appear to be better than you really are.
I pray that this was not only a blog that was completely raw and vulnerable, but also a learning tool. I am still currently working through the idea of being authentic rather than perfect, but by the grace of God and influence of the Holy Spirit, these words have not only brought me comfort, but also clarity. I pray this was also used to be the same thing for you. Remember, that it is not about being perfect or achieving perfection, but rather, about being genuine, honest, and authentic. Psalms 136:26 “Give thanks to the God of heaven. His love endures forever.” He loves us unconditionally, flaws and sin and mistakes. He loves every part of our being and desires that we be open, submissive, and authentic with Him. So if, like me, you are struggling in this, rest in the loving truth that God does not call us to be perfect, but rather, to lay down our imperfections at His feet so that through Christ, we will be made into His holy and righteous image. You are a new creation in Jesus, so stand firm in that, knowing that God loves every part of you. Be authentic, be genuine. God bless!