I have a confession to make.
Are you ready?
I am a little bit of a perfectionist.
And my second confession?
I am not perfect. In any way. At all. Ever.
So why then do I waste so much of my time and energy on being “perfect” when it’s obviously something that I can’t attain? Why do I constantly hide behind a facade of perfectionism so that no one can ever really see the dark, totally imperfect parts of my life? Why do you carry your mask of perfectionism around with you?
Because, please, I can’t really be the only one.
I can’t really be the only one who would rather Instagram see my “spiritual” moments of coffee cup in hand and Bible on my lap than the not-so-spiritual moments when my hair is a mess and I’ve yelled at that certain family member more than once already and it’s only 9am.
Maybe all of this is because sometimes...sometimes I can believe the stereotype that Christians are supposed to be perfect.
Don’t believe me that this is a stereotype?
Let’s be honest, if a Christian makes a big mistake, chances are people are going to make a bigger deal out of it than if that same mistake was committed by someone who did not call themselves a Christian.
Why is this? If no one can be perfect, then why do we place such a higher standard on Christians? Why do I try so hard to hide behind my perfectionism facade?
Maybe it’s because we’ve forgotten that Christians are forgiven because they are not perfect, not because they are perfect.
Because I can promise you one hundred percent that Christians are not perfect, and they’re not called to be perfect either.
So if we’re not called to be perfect, then what are we called to be?
1. Christians are called to be authentic (Matthew 15:7-9). When we get caught up in the idea that we are to be “perfect,” we end up being fake. Jesus talked a lot about fake Christianity.
In the time that Jesus was living on the earth, there were people known as Pharisees. These people were kind of the religious leaders of that day. They made up a whole bunch of rules that people had to follow to be right with God. If anyone was seen as “perfect” during that time, these were the guys.
Yet, Jesus comes along and he calls them hypocrites. Basically he’s saying they’re fakes. Frauds. Because on the outside they look shiny white and sparkling clean. They look “perfect.” But on the inside, Jesus knew that they were far from being perfect.
Putting on a fake mask of “I’m better than you are” or “I’m perfect” only leaves us as frauds in the end. Instead, Christians are called to be real about their struggles. They’re called to be authentic to others about who they really are, and all their imperfections. Which means...
2. Christians are called to be honest about their imperfections (2 Corinthians 12:9). Let me be real with you for a second. Sometimes I can be afraid of showing my imperfections, because I’m afraid it’ll make me look weak. (Can someone say pride?)
When Christians are honest and real about their imperfections and their shortcomings, they’re putting on display the whole point of the Gospel. Christ came because we were imperfect. Christ came because we were sinners who needed saving. Trying to act like we have it all together only dilutes the reality and the power of the Gospel.
So I’ll be the first to put down my pride and wave my hands in the air declaring, “I’m not perfect. Far from it in fact. But in my weakness, He is strong. And that’s the whole point of the Gospel anyway.”
3. Christians are called to imitate Christ. (Ephesians 5:1) While Christians are not called to be perfect, they are called to be more like Christ. Will this happen over night? Absolutely not. If it happened over night I wouldn’t have argued with my sister over doing dishes today. For the second time. (Or maybe third, but who’s counting?)
Christians are going to fail. We’re going to mess up. We’re going to be imperfect.
Our calling is to not stay in that place.
We’re called to get up again and try better next time. We’re called with each choice we make to live a little bit more like Christ would.
Only God is perfect. And as Christians who bear His Name, we are challenged to imitate His perfect example a little more each day.
Perfect Christianity is a myth.
If perfect Christians existed, there would have been no need for a perfect Savior. If perfect Christianity existed, I sure would be in a whole lot of trouble.
But praise God, I don’t have to be perfect because His perfection covers me.
And each day, He is making me--and you--a little bit more into the person He wants us to be.
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