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.
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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?