Perfection is something every believer faces throughout their walk with God.
The Lord has really been working on my heart about the root problems with perfectionism. One of the biggest lies we as God's people believe is that He has called us to perfection. While we must repent of our sins and be holy as He is holy, it is a journey. The truth is, we won't be perfect until we get to Heaven. We should strive to be cleansed and renewed, but God doesn’t call us to perfection. In fact, it is through our imperfect flaws that His glory shines the brightest!
Paul wrote in 2 Corinthians 12:9 :
"And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me."
God was saying that through our human weaknesses, His strength perfects us. It’s why Paul stated he would rather glory in his infirmities or weaknesses because the power of Christ then abides with him. The problem in seeking perfection rather than healing is we want to appear strong and put together. Begs the question: Are we too caught up in maintaining an image rather than surrendering to Jesus?
The idea that we are called to be perfect gives us a blurry view of devotion. We are called to be healed and therefore, as God heals us piece by piece, then we are legitimately being perfected by Him. However, perfection should not be the goal. Pleasing God is the goal. We should want God more than we want to be perfect. If we’re worshiping something other than God, we’re doing ourselves a disservice. Idolatry is not just following after other gods, but also false ideas. Perfectionism is just that. We end up looking to the idea to make us whole when it’s only the Lord who can do that.
The Bible says this in Matthew 22:37-40:
“Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.”
God calls us to love Him and then serve others with that same love. Perfectionism keeps our vision inward. It’s an unrealistic bar only Jesus can get to. This is not an excuse so we can sin. Wanting to be better isn’t a bad thing. Self-improvement is still good. It’s when we have placed perfect as an idol and we leave Jesus behind to achieve it, that it's wrong. This is why the first commandment was to love God with our hearts, because He will set the bar for us. The Lord Jesus Christ calls us into relationship with Him. Not into relationship with perfectionism. Not into unhealthy obsessions to appear superior and put together.
The idol of perfection is dangerous because we start worshiping the standard more than the God who sets the standards! You can check every box trying to be perfect, but Sis, if you're still broken, what good does that do anyone? None of us will ever be perfect down here, and that’s why the Bible talks about a change that comes later on that’s not available now. 1 Corinthians 15:52-53 says:
“In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed. For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality.”
Our corruptible humanity will need a transformation. Not to sound mystical or morbid, but we are mortals right now. We're enduring the cares of this life until one day it all changes and we will be like Him: immortal, without spot or wrinkle. Purified by His blood, dwelling with our Lord forever.
This tells me that perfectionism is vain and can’t be achieved while we’re on earth. Perfection encourages us to set the standards, but purity encourages us to approach the God who sets the standards. So we should strive for purity, not perfection. The Bible continues on, talking about a change after this life. 1 John 3:2 says this:
“Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is.”
“We shall” is a promise for the future! He didn’t say “we are.” Yes, we can experience change down here in extreme ways that contrast who we used to be, but a greater change is coming.
It’s time we break the curse of thinking we have to be perfect in order to be used. In order to be loved. In order to have value.
There isn’t one person in the Bible that was used of God that was flawless, without insecurities and sin. Jesus is the only perfect one. Being perfect is not a qualification to be used. The idol of perfectionism tells you it is. It tells you it’s a qualification.
We have to believe that God is bigger than our own ideas of being perfect. Let’s try and focus on Jesus. Focus on healing your cracked, fragile heart. Focus on renewing your mind and establishing an attitude of prayer. Perfection is a mirror so others see what you want them to see. Healing is a river that shines His reflection through your brokenness and refreshes someone else.
Photo by Hello I'm Nik