My Dear Young Friend,
I am unaware of the circumstances which prompted your question which touched something deep within. “How do you draw the line between holding yourself to a higher standard and accepting imperfections? I cannot accept my imperfections, and so I am tormented by them.”
How do we hold ourselves to God’s standard and accept our limitations and imperfections? The first question one must ask, “Is this within my control”? Example: a physical attribute such as the color of our skin or our ethnicity cannot be altered. Some talents, skills and goals are not achievable. I have no control to become president. I can take positive steps toward the goal… the outcome, however, is beyond my control. I will never be an opera singer; no matter how much I practice as it is outside the range of my God given capabilities. Contentment in life means achieving peace with who God made us to be. We must not allow shortcomings and imperfections to define us.
“Does what I desire line up with the Word of God”? When it does, often what’s needed is discipline; perhaps you are better at this than I, it’s not my strong suit. Remember, discipline does not mean in our own strength. We must include God in every step. The Devil is always vying for attention. He will speak to us with words of condemnation; doing everything within his power to trip us up. For example my recent blood work shows my cholesterol is too high. Bringing my cholesterol down to a good healthy level, meets the criteria of being in line with God’s Word. It will require a change in eating habits and physical activity; all within my capabilities and control. I can count on the Devil to tempt and woo me to make incorrect food choices. He will speak lies to me like, “Life’s short, enjoy” or “Just this once won’t kill ya”. I need to tell the Devil to, “Go to Hell and leave me alone!!!” I need to lean on Truth and not listen to the voices in my head or others who mean well, yet would lead me astray. I need to claim His promises and to rely on God for strength. When I rely on God discipline comes much easier.
Don’t you wish all the dilemmas we face in life were black and white; easy to comprehend? They’re not and therefore we must ask the hard question. Does the world tell me something’s okay, but God’s Word tells me otherwise? For example a very hard question facing many Christian’s today is homosexuality. Society tells us one thing; doctors tell us another; parents another and friends hold yet another opinion. Many friends are aware of abuse or extreme dysfunction in their past, yet, have no desire to examine the past as a possible root to the conflict regarding their sexual identity. It’s easier for them to believe they’re born this way. To suggest it possibly might come down to environment and possible choices borders on heresy. Please hear me, strongly, I’m not throwing stones or passing judgments. I’m not saying homosexuality’s a choice or not a choice. The battle of homosexuality, pornography, abortion, or something else is different for each person, comes with its own set of complexities and no easy answers. I will tell you… I understand the desire and the battle.
The voices often blend together in mass confusion; society, the Devil, God, and my own. Only as I hang onto the truth found in the Word of God, am I able to distinguish and separate the voices. God’s truth is the same past, present and future. I want to err on the truth of God wrapped in His Love and covered in His Grace. Each one must discover Truth for themselves. I can help my friends by praying faithfully. God has not called me to judge but to walk with them offering encouragement as they seek to find truth in their life. I will walk alongside them within my abilities; seeking always to understand. I can choose to love them regardless of their actions and or decisions without compromising my walk in Christ.
When the waters become muddy the only way I know to bring clarity is seeking God. Following God and holding on to the truth (higher standard) is never easy. There’s no magic wand or potion. No action or set of prayers to make it go away. And denial never works. If it were easy we would have no need of God in our lives. From first-hand experience I know God is faithful to His Word when I continue to seek and ask for answers, surrender my will and desires to His, and trust He has my best interest always.
“How do you draw the line between holding yourself to a higher standard and accepting imperfections?” The answer… still the same – through surrender and seeking God, allowing Him to work through our imperfection; much as He did in the life of Paul”
Until next time,
“Three times I prayed to the Lord about this and asked him to take it away. 9 But his answer was: “My grace is all you need, for my power is greatest when you are weak.” I am most happy, then, to be proud of my weaknesses, in order to feel the protection of Christ’s power over me. 10 I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and difficulties for Christ’s sake. For when I am weak, then I am strong”. 2 Corinthians 12:8-10