Easter Advent Week 3
This message can be hard to hear, especially for Christians. You don’t have to be perfect. I mean, before we came to Christ, sure, we were broken and evil and full of imperfections. But after that magical moment of salvation, we realize following Jesus isn’t just sunshine and roses. In fact, it’s quite the opposite, and we let people down. All too often, people who once professed Christ are shying away from the church because they feel the need to figure themselves out first. If they can’t plaster a fake smile to their lips and feel clean, a spirit of condemnation and judgment hangs over them. We forget Romans 3:23, “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” Perfection becomes a burden we don’t have to bear.
Part of the problem is that, as we age in our faith, we forget how to fall, right? Jesus said that if we’re like little children, we’ll inherit Heaven (Matthew 18:3). One of the things I noticed about my toddlers is that they’re amazing at falling. We recently went on a family hike- because you can do that in January in Tennessee, apparently. Three of our girls raced on ahead with daddy, but one of our two-year-olds isn’t as sure on her feet. She kept falling down. But see, she knew how to fall. She braced herself with her hands, then would stand right back up and kept going. There were a few exceptions when she didn’t quite catch herself in time, and the fall would hurt more. Then I would swoop down and place her back on her feet, kiss her owies, and take her hand until she was ready to go alone again.
On that same hike, I also fell. My foot slipped in the mud while I had my little faller riding on my back. But I fell well, just straight down on my rear. Still, I’m not as young, and that fall hurt. It knocked the wind out of me and I had to pause before continuing.
When we first become Christians, we barely even notice when we slip and fall into sin. We get right back up and keep going. But as we grow in our faith, we learn more about what God sees as right and wrong, and the freedom that comes from Christ’s initial forgiveness somehow fades in our hearts. We end up falling into sin, and it hurts a lot more. We need help to get back up.
Well, if you’ve fallen and you can’t get up, there is help on the way. Christ didn’t come to call the righteous, but the unrighteous (Luke 5:31-32). God already knew how broken you’d be at this moment in time when He called you. But God chose you to be his masterpiece. Bring your burden of trying to be perfect on your own to the foot of the cross where Jesus is hanging there naked and beaten. If you look beside you, you’ll see men there gambling over the Messiah’s clothes (Matthew 27:35). A gentle and weak voice flutters over them and you, “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.” (Luke 23:34). And because of Christ’s obedience, we are forgiven by God.
Without the burden of perfection weighing you down, you’ll be able to fall and bounce right back up. This is the mystery of 1 John 1:8-9, “If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” It’s so great. We get to admit that we’re imperfect and then Jesus gives us His perfection as our covering.
There is a perfect future awaiting all who believe in their heart and proclaim with their mouth that Jesus is Lord. Until then, let’s remember that we are imperfect, but we are surrounded in love by a perfect Savoir, the Lord Jesus Christ.
Girl, I am made of the highest grade rubber obviously to have been kicked around and bounced all these years. Sure I got scuff marks, maybe even a patch here and there, But watch out. Just like in dodge ball, I just rail back and pitch that puppy hard and let my prayers “bounce off” their heads to clarity of sight; and as they hit the ground, you may need to help them back up. They may not have the needed composition to bounce back as easily. That’s why we walk this life as Christians, tying ourselves in circles of support and accountability. I’m feeling a bit Tiggery.