Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Hope for imperfect Christians

It could be my own perfectionism rearing its ugly head. It could be a result of hearing over and over again that all humans are sinners who desperately need a Savior. Maybe it's the command to "be perfect as your Heavenly Father is perfect."

Whatever the cause, I've come to recognize that lurking in my heart is a sliver of a fear that I'm not good enough for God. My faith and obedience are imperfect. A little voice (that sounds a lot like the devil) says that I'm unacceptable, not good enough, and will be banned from Heaven and relationship with God.

I know the Sunday school answer to this fear, but... Well, fears stemming from Satan's lies use Sunday school answers as chew toys. I trust I'm not alone in this, so I wanted to share with you a truth I found recently.

John 13 is probably best known for the account of Jesus washing his disciple's feet. Peter didn't want to let him do it at first, but when Jesus told him it was a mandatory part of being his disciple, Peter jumped on the bandwagon and then some by asking Jesus to not only wash his feet but to also wash his hands and head.

Jesus responds, "A person who has bathed all over does not need to wash, except for the feet, to be entirely clean. And you disciples are clean" (v 13:10, NLT).

Oh, for Jesus to call me clean, too! But this is Peter, one of the original disciples. How could my faith ever compare to his?

Later in the same chapter, however, when Peter claims he would die for Jesus, Jesus says, "Die for me? I tell you the truth, Peter--before the rooster crows tomorrow morning, you will deny three times that you even know me." (v. 13:38, NLT)

So, we learn that even as Jesus called Peter "clean," Jesus also knew Peter to be imperfect and about to deny even knowing him.

I hope you can take encouragement from this as I have. If you believe in Jesus Christ and his sacrifice on the cross, you, Christian, are clean. Yes, you still sin. You will never be perfect this side of heaven. But you are clean because you've been washed in the blood.

Romans 8:1 affirms this saying, "So now there is no condemnation for those who belong to Christ Jesus."

Amen! Praise God!

As a side note, this didn't occur to me during my first read-through of John 13. I'm teaching a Bible study on John, and I've been reading some of the chapters repeatedly in preparation for it. I love the way God uses his Word when we study it to speak to our deep fears--those ones we shove out of our minds and hesitate to own up to. But we have to be studying to get the full benefit.

What passage has helped you recently?

Your Sister

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