Word-y Gifts for Christian Faith & Life

Rest for the imperfect

After a long day at work few things are quite like the relief we feel when we get home, take a shower and sit in our favorite chair. We close our eyes and allow ourselves to relax. As the chair carries our weight, our thoughts drift and we enjoy the restoration that comes from rest. But living at rest, even as we labor, is a different matter.

In Paul’s letters to various churches, he put before them exceptionally high standards for Christian living. Addressing the very imperfect believers as “saints,” Paul tells them to be “holy,” “perfect,” “blameless,” “pure,” and so on. His teachings left many wondering, “who can do this? Knowing this, Paul told them that all these standards were achievable only “in Christ.” Christ would strengthen them and give them the grace to be everything he was calling them to be. They need not try to do it all in their own strength, but they were instead to live by faith and from a place of rest.

This teaching should take the pressure off Christians who feel they are not measuring up and fear that people are watching and waiting for them to fail, so they can call them “hypocrites.” God is not surprised or disappointed by our imperfection; he expects and works through it. Our task is to lean on him and allow him to take our brokenness, confusion, insecurity, pride, and so on, and transform us into something beautiful that he can use. The wonder of it all is that he uses us at every stage of our transformation; his light shines bright even through dirty windows. So, relax imperfect saint, take a deep breath and allow his grace to carry you.

“We now have this light shining in our hearts, but we ourselves are like fragile clay jars containing this great treasure. This makes it clear that our great power is from God, not from ourselves.” (2. Cor. 4:7)

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