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Perfectionism

August 15th, 2011

“I am not saying that I have this all together, that I have it made.” Philippians 3:12 The Message

The illusion of perfectionism is a tyranny exactly because it is an impossibility.”

My thoughts today are about “perfectionism.”

Everyone has a capability for being and doing better. You should always strive to do that, but do not put yourself, nor allow anyone else to put upon you, the illusion you can be perfect. The illusion of perfectionism is a tyranny exactly because it is an impossibility. First, you cannot please everyone or anyone all the time. And secondly, you aren’t able to do that successfully by good intention or best effort. No one is capable of that.

My friend, Campbell, often said, “The biggest room on the world is the room for improvement.” With that I whole heartedly concur; you can improve. All of us can, and we should. You just will not improve to the point that you have no place to be better, not in this lifetime. There is a clear distinction between wanting to be better than you were, and expecting to be perfect.

After listing his past, religious credentials and his current spiritual dedication, the apostle Paul wrote, “I’m not saying that I have this all together, that I have it made. But I am well on my way, reaching out for Christ, who has so wondrously reached out for me. Friends, don’t get me wrong: By no means do I count myself an expert in all of this, but I’ve got my eye on the goal, where God is beckoning us onward – to Jesus. I’m off and running and I’m not turning back . . all of us who are mature should take such a view of things.” Philippians 3:12-15 The Message/NIV.

Keep your eye on that same, lofty goal, not on yourself. Your goal is much more than being a lot better; it is to be a little more like Jesus everyday. “Until we all come to such unity in our faith and knowledge of God’s Son that we will be mature and full grown in the Lord, measuring up to the full stature of Christ.” Ephesians 4:13 NLT. You may not be able to be perfect, but your relationship with Christ can be. “So everywhere we go, we tell everyone about Christ. We warn them and teach them with all the wisdom God has given us, for we want to present them to God perfect in their relationship with Christ.” Colossians 1:28 NLT.

Here is the place to which I have come: I may not yet be all that I can be, but I thank God for His grace that I am not all that I used to be! I think people have confused perfection and excellence. Perfection is the striving to be better than everyone else – stronger than, smarter than, purer than, holier than, etc. It always seems to require wrongful comparison, which the Bible calls foolishness. “For we dare not class ourselves or compare ourselves with those who commend themselves. But they, measuring themselves by themselves and comparing themselves among themselves, are not wise.” 2 Corinthians 10:12 NKJV.

Excellence is the higher standard; the result of never accepting your being less than the best God created you to become, “measuring up to the full stature of Christ.” Impossible? Only if you are trying to do so in your own strength without allowing Jesus to accomplish that. His goal; His job; His success!

My prayer for you today is that you strive to be better, not perfect.

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