Redemption, So Much Better Than Perfection
By Erin Lamb
December 14, 2011
Isaiah 45:3 I will give you the treasures of darkness, riches stored in secret places, so that you may know that I am the LORD, the God of Israel, who summons you by name.
Isaiah 61:10 I am overwhelmed with joy in the LORD my God! For he has dressed me with the clothing of salvation and draped me in a robe of righteousness. I am like a bridegroom in his wedding suit or a bride with her jewels.
I don’t know about you, but these verses light up my spirit. God summons us by name. God gives us His treasures, riches, and He clothes us with righteousness. We are also clothed in salvation. We are not only saved from the curse of sin. We are saved, healed, and delivered from the powers of darkness. We are also in the process of being healed and delivered. That is worth celebrating and believing. So, why do we have a hard time believing it? Well, I believe it’s not only due to unbelief, but also to the dreaded issue of perfectionism. Life teaches us that those who are perfect are better than those with imperfections. We are taught from early age to do everything perfectly, as we are told. If we don’t, we are punished, go unrecognized, or are considered less than. So we trick ourselves into believing that God can’t love us unless we get it together. We believe the lies that say we need to be perfect in order to be approved of. In the world, yes, perfection is praised. In God’s eyes, redemption is so much better than perfection. Perfection was achieved in one man, Jesus. He then offered us as His family the ability to wear His Robe of Righteousness. So when God looks at us, it is through the eyes of love, and He sees us wearing Christ’s righteousness. Yes, obedience is important, but what is more important is the realization that we rely on His righteousness. He knows that we are not perfect. He wants us to realize that the perfect One lives in us. So we allow Him to shine through us. There is no condemnation, guilt, or shame. There is a deepening of a relationship with the One who paved the way, points which way to go, heals, forgives, and He does the rebuilding in us.
Dreaded Perfectionism: Perfectionism says, “I need to be perfect in order to feel good about myself.” Perfectionism is self abuse. The truth is none of us are perfect. We serve, love, and submit to the One who is. He is more concerned with developing a deep intimate relationship with us, than our performing or striving to be perfect. Our approval was already given. Our redemption was already purchased. His love is never ending.
Excellence vs. Perfectionism: It is wonderful to want to do things right, well, and accurately. That is called excellence. Perfectionism is a counterfeit of excellence. Perfectionism says, “If I am not perfect or perform perfectly or meet certain standards, then I am worthless or (fill in the blank with some negative or condemning words).” Excellence says, “I want to do things well, but if I fail that does not determine my worth, value, or approval from God.” Excellence is wonderful. Perfectionism is harmful.
Maybe, if you’re like me you have encountered people who are highly critical throughout your life. They seem to point out every little flaw you have and make it a big deal for you to fix it immediately. They have criticized you to the point where you’ve only felt comfortable if you were doing everything perfectly right. Or maybe you have just given up trying because of excessive unconstructive criticism and feedback. Well, forget what they say (easier said than done). Their opinion is not important. The only opinion that matters is Jesus’ opinion. It doesn’t mean you don’t listen to wise counsel, but it does mean that you don’t allow another person’s critical spirit to destroy you. God loves you just as you are. He will never stop loving you. He knew what He was getting into when He called you into relationship with Him. Perfection was achieved already with Jesus. Link your life tightly with His, and He will make the necessary changes in you. It isn’t about performing or striving or working to be perfect. It’s about resting in Him. Resting in what Jesus has already done.
People by nature like to pick out what is wrong with everything. God by nature likes to point out what is right. So live loved!
Redemption is so much better than perfection.
An imperfect person serving a perfectly loving and amazing God!