I used to be the person who always sought and strived for perfection in everything I did. I would hold on to my faults and mistakes long after I fell short of perfection. Even now, I sometimes find myself wishing I could live up to a state of perfection. While there is nothing wrong with these endeavors, there are flaws in this approach. My shortcomings eat me up inside and overflow in suppression and outbursts of anger. These are forms of pride that show full reliance on myself. Loveless band aids to hide my true need.
The most prominent example was in the avenue of athletics. I became very good at destroying ping pong paddles and turning tennis racquets into odd shapes. I shattered many video game controllers. And of course, punting basketballs and throwing putters from green to cart.
I was bandaging my wounds with competitiveness and determination. But I knew that my actions were all about me. I never knew of a better way. Sure, it was expensive when my dad started making me pay for the destroyed equipment. Also, it was frustrating ending an evening with a loss that I was unable to get redemption because the joystick was missing from the Nintendo64 controller. I began to learn that it became expensive to be angry.
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What I didn’t know then, was God’s display of patience towards me while I was living in unrepentant sin and how he chose to use my past to shape my future. God’s grace to Himself, is what I am drawn to. He loves me and understands my fleshly desires. He desires I seek Him with my life. A Father who covers my pride and selfishness, who is gentle in how He loves. He is perfect and sinless. A Father who calls me into righteousness and wholeness simply by His nature and sacrifice of His one and only son, Jesus.
Perfection is not required.
To be able to love, we must be loved first (1 John 4:19 NIV). And God’s promise is that we are loved first, by Him! While parents’ instructions are love and protect their child or children, they are not to take the place of God. He loved us before we were even formed (Jeremiah 1:5 NIV). He gives love that we may be called His children (1 John 3:1 NIV) and are invited to take part in His kingdom! There is nothing apart from His grace and love for us that restores and renews our brokenness.
Are you living in habitual sin or fear you are not loved?
A band-aid won’t do it for you or me. We need an inward change; a new heart. Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the giver of life, and allow Him to define us. Let us seek him wholeheartedly (Jeremiah 29:13 NIV). Only then, will we understand a love so glorious. This love transforms our heart and is a gift of the grace of God.