Are you a perfectionist?
There’s nothing wrong with aiming for a 4.0 GPA or perfect attendance or any other accomplishment. But sometimes aiming for perfection can leave us feeling miserable if we don’t quite reach the bar we set.
It’s discouraging to give 120% on an assignment only to receive a lower-than-expected grade. Then I end up with a “Why bother trying?” mentality which is definitely not good.
When it comes to faith, I think every Christian desires to honor God. But once we become a Christian, our sinful nature doesn’t automatically disappear. There’s a daily struggle between choosing to live for our sinful nature or for the Spirit.
I don’t think there is such a thing as a perfect Christian life, at least in the sense that we will never sin. God doesn’t love us based on our perfection or goodness. He loves us regardless of what we do, but is right there to help us stay on the right path. Even the Apostle Paul struggled with sin.
I absolutely love Paul’s honesty in Romans 7:15-25 (NLT):
“I don’t really understand myself, for I want to do what is right, but I don’t do it. Instead, I do what I hate. 16 But if I know that what I am doing is wrong, this shows that I agree that the law is good. 17 So I am not the one doing wrong; it is sin living in me that does it. 18 And I know that nothing good lives in me, that is, in my sinful nature. I want to do what is right, but I can’t. 19 I want to do what is good, but I don’t. I don’t want to do what is wrong, but I do it anyway. 20 But if I do what I don’t want to do, I am not really the one doing wrong; it is sin living in me that does it. 21 I have discovered this principle of life—that when I want to do what is right, I inevitably do what is wrong. 22 I love God’s law with all my heart.23 But there is another power within me that is at war with my mind. This power makes me a slave to the sin that is still within me. 24 Oh, what a miserable person I am! Who will free me from this life that is dominated by sin and death? 25 Thank God! The answer is in Jesus Christ our Lord. So you see how it is: In my mind I really want to obey God’s law, but because of my sinful nature I am a slave to sin.”
This passage doesn’t mean that sin is inevitable. For our human nature, it is.
But since Jesus has freed us from sin and death, sin loses its power over us.
In Romans 8, Paul explains that when we live in the Spirit and focus on what God desires, we don’t have to be bound to sin. Through the Holy Spirit, we are free.
That doesn’t mean we’ll be perfect, but we no longer have to be enslaved to our sinful natures. When our full focus is on living for Christ, that frees our mind from sinful thoughts. Through Jesus, we have forgiveness from chance and peace in life.
It’s freeing to not have to strive for perfection.
It’s freeing to let the Holy Spirit control our lives.
It’s freeing to know that God still loves us when we mess up.
It’s freeing to live fully for God.