A friend, who is a Pastor’s wife, told of a young couple who had come to their church and during the service accepted Jesus as their Lord and Savior. My friend said they knew the young couple were from disadvantaged upbringings and had many hardships. Aware of the couple’s background, she and her pastor husband rejoiced, even more, knowing that Jesus would enrich their lives.
The following week, my friend saw the young couple at church and asked the wife how they were doing. The young woman answered, “We got saved last week but it didn’t take.”
“It didn’t take? What do you mean, it didn’t take?”
The young woman replied, “You know, it didn’t take. A few days later we were cussing again.”
The couple must have thought that being “saved” or accepting Christ into their hearts would automatically change and transform them into perfect people. Perhaps they thought they would no longer face temptation, or at least, be able to resist sin at all times.
Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect. (Romans 12:2).
Becoming a believer is the beginning of a life-changing and life-long learning process. We remain in the flesh faced with temptation and still stumble at times. God created us and gave us free will to choose to love Him. Not a forced love- that of a heart and mind of a robot. We aren’t perfect and He instructs us to stay close to Him.
Like anyone in love, we don’t want to disappoint. That’s where as believers we realize just how imperfect we are, and often become impatient and disappointed in ourselves. We can’t learn fast enough and know enough about Him and His word. Worse, often it seems we just can’t get it right. The disappointment in ourselves builds.
At least, that how it’s been for me. When I was a new believer, Paul quickly became my favorite apostle. I could really, really identify with Apostle Paul. Like Paul, I wanted to please God and had the best intentions only to be disappointed when I couldn’t overcome temptation.
When I would do good, evil is present with me. For I delight in the law of God after the inward man: But I see another law in my members, warring against the law of my mind, and bringing me into captivity to the law of sin which is in my members. O wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from the body of this death? I thank God through Jesus Christ our Lord. So then with the mind I myself serve the law of God; but with the flesh the law of sin. (Romans 7:21-25).
I’ve now been a believer for years and that scripture still brings me tremendous comfort. Apostle Paul was in Jesus glorious presence…Paul was with Jesus. If Paul, of great faith, struggled against evil, shouldn’t we expect struggle? He admits imperfection, shouldn’t we?
Admitting imperfection is not an excuse to sin. As Christians we strive to lead a life centered on Christ- not one of sin. We must periodically ask ourselves, what is our pattern? Is it of sin, is it the same sin? To receive grace, we must acknowledge our sin, and turn from it. God warns he will not be mocked or deceived.
On twitter, I promote a non-fiction book I wrote. People have expressed interest and responded kindly. One man, named Mike, messaged me asking about my book and it led to a discussion about faith. We discovered we both were raised in the same religion which neither of us still practice. But he hasn’t been to church since he was 15 years old and he’s never read the Bible. He said he tried once but it was hard to read and understand.
Mike messaged, ‘I got a gift certificate from B&N. I’m going to get your book on Saturday.’
I responded, ‘Sorry, but what is B&N?’
‘Barnes and Noble,’ he replied.
Daaa. Ha. After a few seconds of embarrassment, I realized this was a great opportunity to truly make a difference in his life.
‘Please Mike, don’t get my book. Get the Bible.’
Most things in life are baby steps, including faith and the Bible. I think most believers would agree that as a new Christian the Bible is most difficult to read and understand. But as with most things, the more we read it, the more we understand. Sometimes a different message or meaning is revealed than when we read it before. I encouraged Mike to get a reference Bible.
Blessed with wonderful parents, I was raised in a religion that years ago focused on ceremony and perfection to obtain heaven. While under my parent’s roof, I was a somewhat sheltered young lady and ill-prepared for the world. I’ve had a difficult time accepting my mistakes and imperfection.
My non-fiction book, “faulty Christian,” tells of my online dating marriage. It demonstrates how Satan uses our emotions to snare us. The Holy Spirit nagged me, He told me not to marry him, but I did. Bizarre events occurred and living out of God’s will- my reactions are shocking. The book plants a seed in the non-believer and reminds Christians that our story is never over.
None is righteous, no, not one; (Romans 3:10)
My heart is filled with love for our Lord and I desire to be perfect in everything I do and say. No matter how hard I try, I mess up. I can’t be perfect. It really is freeing to admit imperfection. The world needs to hear Christians admit we aren’t perfect. No need to judge us, we know we’re faulty. Thank God for His perfect love, thank God for grace.