approval

It’s strange. As much as I complain to God, he doesn’t seem to mind. In fact, he even seems to care about my complaints. He’s very good at taking criticism. Granted, he doesn’t always follow the advice I give him, but sometimes he’ll give me something I ask for, or he’ll give me something I didn’t ask for but needed. He’s pretty good at his job. I like to complain that he doesn’t do things my way. He quite obviously has something better in mind, because I recall some of the things I’ve prayed for and, looking back, I know they were pretty foolish. As C. S. Lewis said, “If God had granted all the silly prayers I’ve made in my life, where should I be now?” God doesn’t move at my pace, and I should be happy he doesn’t. I’m not always happy about it, but I should be. It makes my part in all of this very simple. First I must trust that God knows what I need much better than I do. Second I must act accordingly. That’s all there is to it. One step at a time, one day at a time, I must seek his wisdom and his will. When I can’t pull myself closer to him, I must pray that he will drag me towards himself, kicking and screaming if need be. In time, God will shape me and bend me into a better image of himself. He knows what I need to learn.

And you know what? He isn’t looking for me to be perfect. That’s not his goal. He doesn’t expect that from me, because he knows I can’t be perfect. It’s not about me being perfect. One of my favorite pastors, Tullian Tchividjian, said on Twitter today, “The focus of the Christian faith is NOT our imperfect transformation but Christ’s perfect substitution.” God isn’t a moralist. Even if we manage to get to the point where we can pull off perfect adherence to a perfect morality, we can’t be good enough. That’s kind of the point of the law given in the Old Testament. We should look at it and say, “wow… there is no way I can be good enough to please God, I’m going to hell.” That’s where grace comes in. I’ll be talking about that some time soon, probably in the next couple days. I could talk about grace for a very long time. It’s kind of a big deal. In the meantime, read Romans. Also, you should check out Tchividjian’s book, Surprised by Grace. It’s an excellent read.

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    • Calvin
    • June 27th, 2012

    What about Matthew 5:48? Jesus tells us to be perfect. And if we can say no to any temptation (1 Corinthians 10:13) and we can do all things through Christ (Philippians 4:13), then through grace we can and should be perfect. We are supposed to be as Christ-like as we can, and perfection through the Holy Spirit by the sacrifice of Christ is being exactly like Christ. That’s what I think, anyway.

  1. True, we should be pursuing Godly perfection, but we cannot attain it, because “all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23). In our imperfection, we cannot meet the standard God has set for us, which is why we need God’s grace to cover our imperfection.

    • Janice
    • June 28th, 2012

    In Sunday School we’re going through Chip Ingram’s “Life on the Edge” and he pointed out that if we can’t live a life where we trust God fully, living in total surrender, perhaps the true issue is that we don’t believe who God says He is and don’t believe Him to be good. If we did, surrender shouldn’t be an issue.

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