Sunday was an amazing day to celebrate the victory of Jesus over death. He lived a perfect life, and had the power to overcome death. As someone who works for a church, I have to do my best to try to represent the wonder and majesty of Jesus to people. Unfortunately, I am incredibly inadequate for such a task. This is not a plea for sympathy or encouragement notes (really!); this is an affirmation of how high and glorious our Lord is – what human talent could ever be adequate enough to represent or speak on that perfectly? I am inadequate for such a task.
This was only driven home all the more clearly after our service (which was amazing and powerful as we pointed to Christ and tried to get out of the way to let God work). After the service I got feedback and compliments about my message. One person said to me, “I love how you covered some really hard topics, and went pretty deep into them.” Another person said, “I know that you only had a little bit of time on each question, but I don’t feel like you really went into each one deep enough.” Of course, I could just dismiss the praise and criticism as a matter of perspective; everyone didn’t even like all of Jesus’ sermons – and He was the Son of God (you don’t get much better with words than that!). I don’t think it is just a matter of perspective; I am coming more to grips with the fact that I will never be picture perfect.
Should we even be trying to be perfect? Some of you may laugh and think that is an absurd question. But not so fast – Jesus told us to be perfect, as our Father is perfect (Matt 5:48), and Paul taught us to aim for perfection (1 Cor 13:11, literally “be perfectly fit together”). It is important to never sell our goal short – we are to be growing more and more like Christ. The problems can come when we stop aiming to become like Christ and settle. The problems can also come when we don’t understand we are a work in progress, or use our own standards of perfection – and not Christ’s.
We are not picture perfect, but every day we can grow more like Jesus. I will not preach the “perfect” sermon – because God is not after exact wording, but a pure heart in speaking, and in listening, and in living. I will give my absolute best for Jesus Christ – out of love and devotion and gratitude and humble obedience. God has not asked us to be adequate or perfect enough – He has asked us to be HIS, and to let His power and grace live in us and work through us. Don’t worry as much about the picture being perfect, focus on the perfect Painter and the beauty He is making on the canvas of your soul.