As I write this, it's nearing 1pm and I'm still in my pajamas. Not exactly typical for me in the middle of the week. But this day I just felt like I needed the space to breathe and be OK with not rushing to do all-the-things. Because some days, I just get tired of striving for better.
Some days the command to live a holy life (1 Peter 1:16) becomes muddled with reaching for a life of perfection I can't seem to grasp, and it's wearing.
It's easy to get holiness and perfection confused. Because no one can obtain perfection; it's an illusion. But God calls us to holiness, and even to practice righteousness (1 John 3:10).
But I get that wrong sometimes, too. That's when I know it's time to step back, take a breath, and land in His grace while I wait for redirection.
Sometimes, He just wants me to be.
Does that mean I give up practicing righteousness?
Certainly not. But it does mean I need to remember the difference between man-made perfection and Godly-righteousness.
God never intended we should carry a yoke of perfectionism in the sense we understand perfection (i.e. holiness). We often confuse man-made perfection for God's holiness.
There are some distinctions between these two I think are worth spelling out and it may just be the key to lifting the burden of striving for that "perfect life".
Jesus is Who makes us holy. Without Him, holiness is unattainable. He is the only One who could bridge that gap through His death and resurrection on the cross. He fulfilled what we could not -- but He didn't abolish the Law. There's a discernment in finding balance between Law & Grace.
Simply put, when you chase hard after Jesus, the change comes. That doesn't mean we won't face temptations or tough decisions or a battle between flesh and spirit.
It also doesn't mean we don't challenge ourselves to go deeper. But without His Spirit living in us and guiding us, none of those desires would even be present, and walking them out definitely wouldn't be possible alone.
Always seek Jesus first.
Mind Your Motives
Your motives are an important part of living a holy life because it will be a fine distinction between seeking your glory and seeking His.
Often, I think we project God's glory into something that actually brings us glory. We believe by saying it brings God glory, than it does. But this is simply not true.
God's glory will never need to be pointed out -- it will be obvious to those around you.
Chasing our own dreams can sometimes feel God-driven because people tell us that's what He wants--for us to chase our dreams. But that isn't always true for everyone.
God doesn't call everyone to chase their dreams. In fact, He often calls us to lay them down. Living a holy life means living a life of sacrifice -- and sacrifice can be painful at first.
The Holiness of God Verses The Perfection of Man
God calls us to some hard things at times, but He will give you a peace and will walk with you. That's how you know the difference between walking in the holiness of Jesus verses walking in the perfection of man.
The perfection of man is never satisfied.
There is no rest in perfectionism.
I know I cannot remain in a complacent state because we are encouraged to "not grow weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up." (Galatians 6:9)
But I have to remember Who I am running for. It is not for my glory, for my acceptance, for my recognition.
It has to be for Him and His glory.
Yes, we are still called to strive, run, and practice righteousness. But we are striving for the holiness of God, not the perfection of man.