Embracing Our Imperfection – True Holiness

As humans, is it really possible to balance the spirit with the flesh? So much of what we feel and experience emotionally is natural, while so much of what we pray and seek to become when we study the Word is so very unnatural.

It is not natural to respond gently when we feel we have been wronged, or that we are entitled to being treated a certain way. (Proverbs 15:1)

It is not natural to love those who do not love us in return; or, who not only do not love us in return, but who treat us with quite the opposite of love in return. (Matthew 5:43-48)

It is not natural to purposely choose to serve someone before you, or even, instead of you altogether, as though their needs and desires are more important than your own. (Philippians 2:3)

Yet, all of these things {and so much more} are what we are called to live out as followers of Jesus. 

Christianity is not natural; that is why there is so much denying of self involved, and wrestling with your own mind and heart. Yet, in the midst of all of this wrestling and trying to understand the complex, awesome, huge God that we serve, we set seemingly impossible standards for the people we want to strive to become “one day." 

Not to say that godliness is an impossible aspiration, or that we should not strive to live biblically, but the fact of the matter is that there is no supreme level of godliness that we will achieve while on this earth because our ultimate level of godliness will not happen until we see Jesus face to face and are with him in Heaven.

Sanctification is a process, not a deed. God purposely set it up so that we would never be able to reach a certain point in our faith where we have "figured it out,” or where we are “finally there.” No, we will never “get there.” If that were the case, and sanctification was one final achievement, that would mean that we would eventually get to a place in life where we would not need Jesus anymore. And if that were true, then the whole story of God and Jesus and the Cross would be completely in vain, and God would not be the powerful, sovereign, wise Creator that he says he is. We would essentially be saying that humans are on the same level as God.. that we are equal with him in wisdom. And that, friends, is totally contrary to what we see in Scripture. (Job 40:1-5)

God does not expect or desire perfection from us. He desires our unending dependence on him for holiness every single day, until we see him and are finally made perfect in his presence. Until then, all he calls us to do is to trust that in our seeking to know him and love him more with each day, he is making us whole and cleansing our hearts from evil by the power, love, and mercy of his Spirit.

Jesus was and is the ultimate sacrifice. He paid it all. The debt that we constantly feel that we owe has already been paid, and all of our false humility and hopes of restoring the communion between us and God only insults the suffering that Jesus endured when he stood in the place of our sin on the Cross. He already did it. It is finished. True humility comes when we learn to accept this costly gift and trust that it alone is fully sufficient to give us pure, holy, spotless, direct communion with God. And that all of our human, “noble” efforts to gain right-standing with God only pollute that perfect, holy communion.

“For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part; but then I shall know fully, even as I have been fully known.”  

                 –1 Corinthians 13:12