“…as it is written: “None is righteous, no, not one;
I am not perfect. It is amazing how difficult it is to actually write and to say these words even though I know they are the truth. Yet day after day I find myself condemning myself for falling short of an unspoken standard–for falling short of perfection.
That attitude I shouldn’t have had. Those words I shouldn’t have spoken. That show I shouldn’t have watched. That perspective I hadn’t considered before passing judgment. Whether society considers my sins large, small–or in some cases, acceptable–anything short of God’s standard is indeed sin.
God is perfect; and His standard is perfect. Yet I am not–and I never will be. All have sinned and fall short of God’s glory (Romans 3:23). Even being a believer doesn’t make me perfect in the here and now. Yes, Jesus has clothed me with His robe of righteousness (Isaiah 61:10). Yes, He makes my sins as white as snow (Psalm 51:7). Yes, he removes my sins as far as the east is from the west (Psalm 103:12). But my sinful nature still strives for control. Every moment of every day I must choose life or death, love or hate, good or evil; I must set my mind on things that are pure and lovely and take every thought captive (Philippians 4:8; 2 Corinthians 10:5). And although I know what is right, I don’t always choose wisely. In fact, I often, like Paul, do the exact opposite of what I will to do (Romans 7:15). I want to speak truth, but a lie or exaggeration pours forth from my mouth instead. I want to encourage, yet I tear down. I want to help, but my will refuses to make the effort. Day after day my actions prove contrary to what my heart knows to be true. Why? Because underneath that robe of righteousness is a sinner saved by grace. I have been wiped clean spiritually, but I am not perfect. And although I must always identify and confess my sins, I must also be like Paul and rejoice that through Jesus I am free from condemnation and death. No, I am not to celebrate my imperfection. No, I am not to use my sinful nature as an excuse to keep sinning. God’s Word is clear that those who remain in sin do not truly know Him (1 John 3:6). I am, however, to celebrate that perfection put on imperfection for me. God became flesh in order to pay the penalty I could never pay myself.
Jesus died so I can live.
But I’m still not perfect.
And neither are you.
Seriously. I know this may not sound like encouragement, but it is. No one is perfect. So it’s time we stop seeking perfection, stop condemning ourselves and others every time we or they miss that elusive mark of perfection. Rather, it’s time we begin seeking the Perfect One. It’s time we extend the grace God’s shown us to those around us and to ourselves. Instead of striving each day to meet an unattainable standard–and expecting others to do the same–we should strive to know our Savior more. Yes, doing so may expose more of our insecurities and impurities–after all, the more light we shine in the darkness, the more dirt we’ll see–but doing so will also allow the Righteousness One to skim that dross off the top, to wipe away the dirt from our lives.
No one is perfect. We all need Jesus. And the more we seek Him, the more we’ll see Him; and the more we see Him, the more we’ll recognize our desperate need for Him and for His righteousness.
God is holy.
We are not.
So I encourage you today–I encourage myself today– to stop trying to be something you’re not. Stop trying to be perfect. Rather than allowing your imperfection to keep you from drawing near to God, let it propel you into the arms of our Father.
Seek the One who will never fail. Seek the One who saved you before you ever realized your need for a savior. Seek Him and you will find Him, when you search for Him with all your heart (Jeremiah 29:13).