Purpose Not Perfection:
"The Lord will fulfill his purpose for me; your steadfast love, O Lord, endures forever. Do not forsake the work of your hands." (Psalm 138:8)
Perfect. The concept of perfect had to be forfeited two years ago on the longest, most agonising car ride of my life. Everything was so debilitatingly confusing. How did I end up here? Why did God do this? Is this the end? Are You still here, Lord? Do You still love me?
"For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come, nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord." (Romans 8:38-39)
If I could, as the person I am today, go and visit my distressed self on that very night of July 6, 2012, I would tell myself these things:
"God's going to use this, yes, all this madness and sorrow, for your good. You may feel abandoned, alone, and forsaken tonight, but the joy of the Lord is coming. His love will never depart from you. His Presence is going to lead you through this difficult time. You may feel like God's punishment is on you, but this is far from the truth. In fact, God's favour is upon you. Just think, He went this far to bring you back to Himself. He wants you. He misses you. He simply wants your heart back. You may feel like you're stranded in a dried up desert right now, but I promise you that the rushing rivers of God's mercy are headed your way. Don't let the chaos of this environment steal away the peace that God is providing for you. Right here, in this moment, you must choose to whom you're going to surrender."
It was a very long eleven days in that place. During those long nights sitting on the world's most uncomfortable bed, I began to understand that all I had left was God. And now, as though the light has clicked on, I can see that if God is all I've got, then really what more could I need? What more could I want? He was not punishing me, He was purposing me and perfecting His strength in my weakness.
"And He said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore most gladly I will rather boast in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me." (2 Corinthians 12:9)
Why do we strive towards perfection? Why do we run and run until we're far out of breath toward this abstract concept of perfection? To feel accepted? To feel loved? To feel important? Stop your tireless toiling! There is a better way!
This is precisely what God was saying to me in those eleven days, "Stop your striving. I have a better way for you. My way involves peace, love, joy, and abundance. Wait on Me, and I will deliver you."
"The Lord is good to those who wait for Him, To the soul who seeks Him." (Lamentations 3:25)
The good news is this, God always has a better path. Feel completely exhausted? Come to the Well and be refreshed and revitalised.
How do we know that we're accepted? My friend, it's not because we're "good enough" that we're accepted. It's because of Christ, the One who took our place. He is the One who bore the strife, the sins, and the suffering. He purchased our peace, and now our freedom and fellowship are secured in Him.
"For He Himself is our peace, who has made both one, and has broken down the middle wall of separation" (Ephesians 2:14)
Separation. Just the word itself is sharp enough to slice through the emotions of the heart like a sword. One of the reasons we strive toward perfection? Fear of rejection, separation, and isolation.
"But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ." (Ephesians 2:13)
We were once just that - separated by sin, rejected because of our unrighteousness, and isolated in this word so far away from God. But now, Jesus, oh, Jesus has redeemed all! Because Jesus is the perfect Lamb of God, we need not wrestle to attain perfection of acceptance. We need not fight for forgiveness, because forgiveness is a gift from God given by grace and received by faith.
So now, you might question, "I no longer need to strive for perfection, but how do I know that I'm purposed?" Well, this theme of purpose is actually beautifully weaved throughout the Bible. From the first bite of the apple, to the birth of our Saviour, to His death on the Cross and Resurrection on the third day, implementing purpose is a characteristic of God.
"Therefore, as through one man’s offense judgment came to all men, resulting in condemnation, even so through one Man’s righteous act the free gift came to all men, resulting in justification of life. For as by one man’s disobedience many were made sinners, so also by one Man’s obedience many will be made righteous." (Romans 5:18-19)
Adam sinned and cursed every generation of humans with condemnation and sinful nature. However, have you ever known God to allow the opportunity to turn something seemingly devastating into something miraculously magnificent? Nope. Every time God amazes me. Where SIN abounds, His GRACE abounds exponentially more!
"Moreover the law entered that the offense might abound. But where sin abounded, grace abounded much more, so that as sin reigned in death, even so grace might reign through righteousness to eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord." (Romans 5:18-21)
This is what He does in our lives. Each day we may try to be a better version of ourselves than yesterday. The fact of the matter is however, that when we're not in fellowship with the Lord, there are no improvements to be made. Apart from God, things can only plummet downhill. In all our struggling, God, in all His compassion, comes down and says, "Enough My child, I can take it from here. I've got a better way."
God has a BETTER way than perfect. God is more than perfect! He's above perfect. Perfection simply isn't perfect enough to describe the glorious greatness of our Lord.
"Ah, Lord God! Behold, You have made the heavens and the earth by Your great power and outstretched arm. There is nothing too hard for You." (Jeremiah 32:17)
Nothing at all is too difficult for the Lord. Will you trust that He can take all your painful mess and turn it into prosperous purpose? I don't know about your soul, but mine just jumped within me shouting, "Yes!" God has a plan, He has a purpose, and perfection plays no part!
Our job? To stand in awe of Him who is worthy to be praised. To hold our every hope, dream, and desire in outstretched hands lifted to our Heavenly Father, and trust that He can take care of them much better than we can. This surrender demonstrates not only that we trust that He is faithful and won't forsake us, but also that no matter how much we love the things that we surrender, we ADORE Him radically more.
"You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your strength." (Deuteronomy 6:5)
Take the leap into His arms today my friends. Trust that He's got a plan that's better than the plague of this concept of human perfection. He knows your heart, your hopes, and your desires, so trust that He'll maintain them for you. All it takes is one simple little "yes" from your soul, and you'll be on your way to living out that peaceful purpose God has for planned you!
-The Introverted Evangelist
Photograph Taken By: Raphael