There’s a degree with which we tend to measure ourselves in our life- whether it be in school, careers, relationships- we hold up an expectation to hit in order to to be deemed successful. It’s as if in everything we do, there is an invisible scale to weigh our approach against our outcome, and our ambition against the fruit; we make the decision to do one thing, and expect for it to produce.
So, what happens when it doesn’t fulfill?
I don’t know about you, but I feel failure step on my chest and take away my breath. For some, it may mean picking up the pieces and trying again. For others, it may dictate a new attempt. Regardless of which one you are, neither paths bring you gratification. And all of them, require retracting action.
We take a step back, we change our heart, we strive for more. We either disavow or proceed, in which case both scenarios still revolve around the subject at hand, so nothing changes.
The world teaches us to continuously pursue fruition. It trains our minds to naturally provoke competition and selfish desires, and then it tells our hearts to follow suit. The danger here is the definition of fruit- the world deems it prosperity in earthly, tangible objects and outward adornment. It recognizes man’s praise over God’s and holds it longways to be that measuring stick. Did you reach it?
I never could.
Philippians 1:6 For I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ
When I committed my life to Christ, I involuntarily took this mindset with me. I brought on the worlds quota and layered it with earthly profit. I thought certain bibles, relationships, words spoken, actions, and complete grace were mile points to hit in order to move forward. I thought I had to turn myself into the picture-perfect description of a believer to measure up-
But God didn’t ask me to do that.
The idea of success met through perfection is a man-made concept that will forever be a battle for us. We will always struggle with it’s core perception and as sinners, will want to lean towards it in weak moments.
But here’s the thing: we are not complete until Jesus returns. There is no such thing as perfection away from Him. We are a “work” of art under His hands and from His heart; meaning, we are a design meant for continuous glorification; we are constantly being worked on, polished, taught, softened. We are incomplete as human beings, but complete in Him.
My love and understanding for God’s character overflowed when I understood this. I was allowing myself to be tied down by the false teachings of the world, when I was trying to follow the person who frees me from it all. The constant worry of worth, impressions and progress were in itself the reasons I was holding back from my faith. I stunted my own growth by the lies and deceit that I wasn’t good enough yet.
The amazing truth is that all He asks you to do is choose Him. Choose Him and you will achieve everything. The measuring stick will vanish, the sense of accomplishment will wither away, the constant pursuit of perfection will become irrelevant.
Micah 6:8 He has told you, O man, what is good, and what does the Lord require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God?
Our Lord does not expect precision, because He knows we are not capable of it. If we were, there would be no reason for Jesus. If we had the power and will on our own to live morally through the laws of scripture, it would contradict it entirely. We are made weak so that our strength comes from Him; in the same sense, we are made imperfect that He may be our perfection; we fail, so that He may succeed.
We do not need to walk our journey looking over our shoulders for praise or judgement, and we do not need to measure the plaques on our wall, we simply choose to love God with all our mind, with all our heart, with all our soul, and the rest will fall into place.