Sunday, July 3, 2011

Perfection not required here

5:01 p.m. Today's project was to wake up at 5 a.m. for a ride to church with our friends Howard and Charlotte at 7:10. (Our Jeep won't be fixed until tomorrow). I did try to scare up a ride to second service, but the only Calvary Chapel Moreno Valley friend who lives close by had ministry obligations during all three services.

I'm not really a princess; it's just that after a long day of helping Heidi and Pavel move their things from the house, gardening, reorganizing my office and guest bedroom, and practicing on the stickshift Ford Escort, I didn't get to bed very early. I'd started on a project for my business, putting together color cosmetic looks for parties in snack-size ziploc bags, and only had 8 packets to go. However, the components--samples of 3 coordinating eyeshadows, and a blush-- were all over one side of the kitchen table. Now that bugged me, even though it's just Steve and me at home, certainly no little kids around to scramble up the combinations I'd laid out. I just cannot go to bed with a mess anywhere in my house--even a perceived mess! (However, I do think there's an exception to be made for a newlywed daughter's old bedroom at least for a couple of weeks).

So after helping Steve adjust his C-pap mask for the night, I stayed up watching "Amen" on the Gospel Music Channel, and finished my packets. As I told Charlotte this morning on the way to church, "At least it was only 11:30 and not 1 a.m. when I went to bed!" Just as well I wasn't driving after all...

There is no perfection in this life, no matter how hard some of us try to be prayerful, prepared, presentable and precise. Even when scriptures such as Colossians 4:12, where Epaphras' prayer for the believers is "that you may stand perfect and complete in all the will of God," use our English word "perfect," the Greek word is teleios, the idea of mature, fully grown, or complete. On the other hand, teleioteros gives a comparative degree, and is used in Hebrews 9:11 to describe the very presence of God! Quite a difference, I'd say! You and I are going to get just so far in this life, so there's no sense exhausting or condemning ourselves if our actual achievement never quite measures up to our plan or mental picture!

I have always loved the way the Apostle Paul "encourages the Philippians to pursue Christ and the hope of heaven with determination and strength" (Mohrlang). Philipians 3:12-14, NLT:

I don't mean to say that I have already achieved these things or that I have already reached perfection. But I press on to possess that perfection for which Christ Jesus first possessed me. No, dear brothers and sisters, I have not achieved it, but I focus on this one thing: Forgetting the past and looking forward to what lies ahead, I press on to reach the end of the race and receive the heavenly prize for which God, through Christ Jesus, is calling us.

Use your gifts and fulfill your responsibilities, but keep your eyes on the prize: the high calling of God in Christ Jesus!

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