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Grace, Not Perfection

June 9, 2014 by

Grace
I so enjoy being a part of the online community.

I look forward to visiting my favorite blogs on a regular basis. I’m thrilled when I learn something new. I am moved when people share their hearts, their burdens, and their struggles. I appreciate being encouraged to grow in my faith with a wonderful devotion. Knowing how I feel about food, you can imagine how happy new recipes make me!

The thing is, we have to be very careful.

It is so easy for us to set standards based on the lives of others and set ourselves up for comparisons and competitions. This is dangerous, my friends, for it often leads to feelings of inadequacy, guilt, or discontentment. We must tread with caution.

First, we need to remember that, in the online community and in the real world, we all tend to show others our very best. We write about the strength of our faith, we show our best at church, we brag to friends and family about our jobs, our children, and our spouses. It’s human nature to want others to think the best of us, but we need to be careful not to alienate others by portraying that we have it all together. We need to remember that we all struggle, we all sin, and we all fall short. We need to know that we aren’t alone. We need to show others that they aren’t alone.

“For the LORD does not see as man sees; for a man looks at the outward appearance; but the LORD looks at the heart.” ~1 Samuel 16:7 (NKJV)

Secondly, we must remember to be content with what we have. There is a reason God gave us the spouse, the children, and the circumstances He did. This doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t all strive to have the best that we possibly can in this life, but we need to do that within the context of contentment with what we have been given, as well as living lives subjected to His will before our own.

“…for I have learned in whatever state I am, to be content” ~Philippians 4:11 (NKJV)

“Delight yourself also in the LORD, and He shall give you the desires of your heart.” ~Psalm 37:4 (NKJV)

Lastly, we must remember that were it not for the grace of God, we could accomplish nothing.

“I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing.” ~John 15:5

We need to remember that He didn’t ask us to be perfect. He made us that way when He hung on the cross for us. (With respect to the way God now perceives us in that Christ took our sins upon Himself so that we would be washed clean and have right standing with God.) Striving for perfection will only leave us disappointed, disillusioned, and distraught.

“For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works less anyone should boast.” ~Ephesians 2:8-9 (NKJV)

Let us remain sensitive to the prompting of the Holy Spirit in those times that we need to show a little grace to others. Let us not forget that sometimes, we need to show a little grace to ourselves.

May we strive to live lives that praise God for what He has given us. Let us rejoice for others in their triumphs without jealousy. Let us be honest and transparent in our struggles so that others will know that they aren’t alone. Most importantly, let us lift one another up in prayer rather than in idolatry.

Lord, we thank and praise You that you have given us brothers and sisters in the faith to love, encourage, teach, and learn from one another. Help us not to focus on what you have given to others, but to give You thanks for what You have given us. Help us to trust all things to You. Help us to do our very best with what You have given us while also striving for grace, at times, rather than perfection. Thank You for Your grace that covers us. Thank You for Your sacrifice that is perfecting us. Help us to live lives that honor You, and You alone. Amen. 

 

Have you read Max Lucado’s book on grace? You can order it here. For a great reminder of God’s grace, see this mug. Both Big Daddy Weave and Chris Tomlin have beautiful songs of grace.

*Disclosure: This post includes affiliate links. You are not obligated to make any purchases, but when you do through one of my links or the Amazon search box to the right, I will make a small percentage on the sale. Thank you for supporting my site.

Shared at A Little R&R & Missional Call.

Leave a comment about a time you showed grace to yourself or to someone else. In what areas of your life have you learned to let go of striving for perfection?

10 Responses to Grace, Not Perfection

  1. Joyce

    Amen! And the reason I gave up Face Book as soon as I signed up. God wants us to be ‘REAL’ and that means not painting a picture for others of us that is not all true. Blessings on your day! And….where would we be without His wonderful Grace and Mercy?!

    • Heather

      Thank you, Joyce. I don’t even want to begin to imagine where we would be without His Grace and Mercy. It makes my heart want to weep for those who don’t experience daily fellowship with Him. This is yet another reminder that we must be praying for those who need to come to salvation.

  2. Rick

    Thank you Heather for your beautiful post this morning. It took me back some 23 years ago when I was struggling with a drinking problem. My perception was that as I would compare my insides with others outsides, I would always lose in the comparison. You all seemed to have it together, especially when I would go to a church service somewhere. This kept me feeling isolated from others and prevented me from being an engaged follower of Christ. Through AA’ s 12 steps, which if you study the history, came from an earlier Christian group right out of our bible, I was taught the power of being transparent with others. It brought reality to what James 5:16 teaches about confessing our sins to one another so we may be healed by the power of prayer. It’s one thing to confess to God, cause sometimes we think he already knows anyway. The reality is, at the onset of our salvation, it’s the biggest step we can take. But then try leveling the field with those around us to knock down some of Satan’s strongholds of pride. We can then humbly lift up one another, enjoy unity of the spirit, and fight this good fight together as God intended us to do life together in biblical community.

    • Heather

      Thank you so much for being so transparent with us. I can imagine that it took a lot of courage to be able to share that. I am so thankful that with God’s strength, you were able to overcome. It’s been 23 years, and I still don’t ever take that for granted. God is always good, but our struggles in this life are real. We should embrace and share them in an effort to encourage others. Thank you for sharing your heart with us.

  3. Arlene Baker

    The HOLY SPIRIT is the only perfection that I can attain through CHRIST. My life was a hot mess without HIM. I thank JESUS for paying the price for ALL! No ONE is too far gone for the LORD to rescue. I have seen so many lives turned around by our LOVING FATHER. Thank you, LORD, for giving us relationship through GRACE.

    • Heather

      Amen! I, too, have seen Him transform many lives. He is so worthy of our praise! We are all a hot mess without Him. Thank you, Arlene.

  4. Tobi

    Love this, such a great reminder that we need to make sure our default isn’t comparison or judgement, but grace and love.I struggle with thinking I need to have close friendships with people even when it is impossible to have a real friendship with them, like I am not showing grace and love if I put distance between us. But this is what God is teaching me.. we all fall short, but we all need to love each other, even if it is from a distance with certain people in our lives.

    • Heather

      That’s a very good point, Tobi. We can’t be all things to all people, but with God’s grace, we can extend love towards them all.

  5. Abi Craig

    All great reminders, Heather. So glad that God’s grace is greater than all our sin and that His mercy is new every morning.

    One area I’ve learned to not expect perfection in is how my house looks when people come over. We certainly want to have a pleasant atmosphere for guests, but I’ve learned to not be upset about the toys the kids didn’t pick up or the counter I didn’t have time to clean. Better to greet people with gladness than get stressed over presenting perfection.

    • Heather

      I have found the same thing to be true for me, Abi. I used be exhausted by the time my guests arrived. Now I just relax and enjoy them. The funny thing is that most people stress themselves to clean the house and we all know it. Better to just be welcoming and real, right? Thanks for taking the time to read and comment. I appreciate it.

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