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Does Practice Make Perfect?

A camper

We have our whole life to practice things like patience, wise decision making, kind reactions, etc. Why is it so hard to get those things right e v e r y time? Judah explains how we can rest in Christ’s perfection as we seek to point others to him whether we fail or succeed.

Scripture

There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. For the law of the Spirit of life has set you free in Christ Jesus from the law of sin and death. For God has done what the law, weakened by the flesh, could not do. By sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh and for sin, he condemned sin in the flesh, in order that the righteous requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not according to the flesh but according to the Spirit. 

Romans 8:1-4

Reflect

My desire to write the best, most eye-opening analogy for this devo was stemming from my inner desire for others to read this and say “this couldn’t be any better”. Subconsciously I am unceasingly seeking out perfection, or at least the appearance of perfection. Why is that? So often in life we get caught up in the lie saying perfection is something all about what we do, rather than what Christ did. Even worse, we believe we have to be perfect in order to be acceptable (to others and to God).

I frequently need reminders of truth, and here are a few that help me (and can help all of us) when I struggle with believing those lies about an expectation of perfection being placed on me:

  1. Perfection (on Earth) is impossible. The fact of the matter is that we are sinners, and therefore we are imperfect (Romans 3:23). Right off the bat, we’re doomed for imperfection. Scripture goes on to say that as long as we are in the flesh (humans), we will always struggle with having sin nature (Romans 7:15-20). We’re sinners, and sinners aren’t perfect. Don’t worry! We have hope in the truth that comes next…
  2. Failure does NOT equal condemnation. To be honest, I’m not sure what I’m more motivated by: the desire for perfection, or the fear of failure. Looking at some of the things scripture calls us to do will likely strike a sense of fear within some of us (1 Peter 1:14-16, 2 Corinthians 7:1, 2 Corinthians 13). Even though we are doomed to come up short, we have no need to fear failure because as believers we are free from condemnation through Jesus Christ (Romans 8:1). We can find freedom in the cross. It is by the cross that we have access to live righteous and holy (Romans 8:2-4).     
  3. Don’t be a freeloader. Although perfection is not required of us, we are still called “to walk in a manner worthy of the calling to which [we] have been called”, not for the sake of living mistake free, but so others may see our good works “and give glory to [our] Father who is in heaven” (Ephesians 4:1, Matthew 5:16). The next time we find we are struggling with perfectionism, we need to step back and ask why it’s so important to us. For our own gain and satisfaction? For how others view us? Or so God may be glorified and others would have their attention directed towards Him because of what we do?

Don’t believe the lie that says we are unacceptable unless we prove to be perfect. Remember that we are made worthy by what Jesus did on the cross, not by what we do.

Camper Corner

What do you think it means to be perfect? The Bible says Jesus was God’s son, and He came to earth and lived a perfect life. Do you know why Jesus needed to live a perfect life on earth?

For further reading here are a couple good articles on this topic:

https://gotquestions.org/sinless-perfection.html

https://gotquestions.org/Bible-perfectionism.html

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