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The Story Behind Perfectionism

Photo by: Amanda Woodward

Perfectionism can be a wonderful gift, a guiding star, a brutal club, or self-absorbed agony. The option we  identify with may depend on how we are reading the Bible.

For example, some of the language of the book of Revelation can be disturbingly confusing, because it seems to require “perfectionistic” faithfulness.  As indicated in our last post, the seven letters to the churches (Rev 2-3), together with the strong warnings of Revelation 22 make it sound as if a failure “to overcome” puts us at risk of losing everything.

If we interpret perfection and perfectionism like that, they become like a brutal club or whip that is being used to prod us on in fear.

But as we’ve been seeing, that’s why it is so important for us to understand that all of the  words of the Bible have a story behind them.

An earlier  letter to Jewish followers of Jesus, for instance, explains clearly and emphatically that it is by the one sacrifice of “The Messiah” that we are both sanctified (set apart for God) and perfected (made complete). See Hebrews 10:1-14. Note that verse 14 says, “For by one offering he has perfected forever those who are sanctified.” And verse 10 has already declared, that “We are sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all.

Here we find a kind of perfection and perfectionism that is an expensive gift, bought by our God and offered to us.

Interestingly, it is this  same letter to the Hebrews that also gives us some of the same “Revelation-like” warnings about what remains for those who don’t “keep the faith”  (see later in the same chapter Hebrews 10:24-27).

In both cases (Hebrews and Revelation) those warnings need to be taken seriously by anyone who is not relying on what the Son of God did for us through his “stand in” life, sacrificial death, and resurrection. They are not, however, threats to those who recognize their ever present failures, while relying on the “sanctifying perfection” of Christ to rescue their “soul” and improve their walk.

Those same warnings, however,  can also be a wake-up call for anyone who thinks that, because Christ did for us what we couldn’t do for ourselves,  what we do from here on out doesn’t really matter. The letter to the Hebrews, together with Revelation’s seven letters to the churches (2-3) remind us that a knowledge of what Christ has done for us, together with a prophetic understanding of what he will do for us in the future—are  not meant to say that the story has been told… and that all that is left for us to do is to privately, and personally contemplate the wonder of it.

That’s apparently why the author of Hebrews urges us to see the importance of the kind of “gathering together” (vss 24-25) by which we prompt one another to do more than wait and celebrate our good fortune.  According to the letter to the Hebrews, the solution to perfectionism is not only to rely on Christ’s acts in our behalf, but also to overcome  the self-centered nature of the wrong kind of perfectionism, by “love and good works“–“and so much the more as you see the day approaching.”

Seems to me that this describes a kind of perfection (fullness and completeness of spirit) that is like a guiding star.

Am left with a question that seems to deserve more thought: Isn’t it ironic that the perfection that Christ bought for us, once and for all, is just what we need for the kind of agonizing, self-absorbed perfectionism that is “all about us”?

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48 Responses to “The Story Behind Perfectionism”

  1. scout1 says:

    “Those same warnings, however, can also be a wake-up call for anyone who thinks that, because Christ did for us what we couldn’t do for ourselves, what we do from here on out doesn’t really matter.” -That sounds like a very relaxed version of being saved.

    I feel like the paradox between being faithful, learning trust and being obedient to His precepts and knowing that these things are important -and that we can’t accomplish them on our own, is interesting. We are asked to do things we can’t on our own. The Lord has to help us with how to do what He wants. Our perfectionism is really His perfectionism. No wonder the verses that you have been talking about are so unreachable.

    I guess for me, I need to do more studying to find out what the Lord wants and what will please Him.


  2. poohpity says:

    To me perfectionism is a brutal club and self absorbed agony. Being raised in a home where I really thought my parents had it all together and the microscope they used to make sure that I did everything right brought me to my knees thinking how on earth will I ever live up to what they expect from me. Then I found over the years that is exactly what I expected of myself, perfection. That is an unobtainable goal yet I live with the guilt when I do something wrong rather than picking myself up and brushing off then try again.

    There is only ONE guiding star and wonderful gift of perfectionism and that is Jesus Christ. I can run around and live a defeated life trying to be perfect then that will be where my attention is focused which to me would be idol worship. Anything that takes our eyes off of God and the work Jesus has done and hungering after Him alone is worshiping an idol.

    God many times in scripture has told us that what is desired from us is to know God and to love mercy. (Hosea 6:6; Micah 6:8; Matt 9:13) Yet we try to achieve the impossible, perfectionism. We want peoples eyes to be on us how much WE know or what WE do, how much WE have gained, how spiritual WE are and how well WE follow the letter of the law. Talk about self absorbed.

    It is so easy to say that we put God first in everything but do we really? Why would we put such high expectations that we can not achieve on ourselves? I think it is because we do not want to think or trust that God will and has done it all and always will. It has nothing to do with us, God is God the rain and everything else falls on the just and unjust alike. What is it that sets us apart? What do we want to be known for? Even our faith is a gift from God. God wants us to know Him and that is what God delights in, someone who seeks after Him.

  3. Bob in Cornwall England says:


    Sounds like any other ism or religion and is man made, perhaps satan has some input to?

    Something was mentioned in our little Barn Fellowship Sunday evening.
    When we look in a mirror we are looking at God’s perfect creation. He made us to be perfect and we should see ourselves as He intended us to be.

    Now we all know that is not the case, but we are instucted to be “perfect even as He is perfect”.

    The story behind this perfection is the story of the Bible we have been discussing here for awhile.
    Jesus, the perfect man, became imperfect and stained in our place so that we could put on His perfection.
    There is nothing wrong with perfectionism as long as it is in Him.
    There were three crosses on calvary at the time Jesus was sacrificed.
    One man was Good, one was bad, and the other ugly!
    The Good man took the sin of all on to Himself.
    The ugly man demanded release from his condition even though it was all his own fault.
    The Bad man new he was guilty and deserved to die but he recognised that Jesus was Messiah.
    Jesus said to the bad man “Today you will be with me in Paradise”.
    Today, not tomorrow or yesterday!
    The good was not instantly transformed to paradise, he had to go through the pain of death on a cross, just as Jesus went through the pain of death on The Cross.
    Paradise or perfection can only be found when we experience death on the cross and rise up to perfection with Christ.


  4. InHisHands says:

    When we forget that we are nothing without the blood covering of Jesus Christ, then we measure ourselves to a standard of “perfection” that may be acceptable to the worldview, or society around us. However, when we remeber that we are made “perfect” in Christ – that HIs finished work on the cross and is complete in Him; then we can rest assured that we are perfect (in God’s standard, as He is looking at us through the blood covering of His Son and sees us in that perfect light.

    I believe that we have to desire to please God by learning more of Him through the communication He has given to us – His Word. We are given the tools to be able to get a complete picture/understanding of that wonderful Book with the lessons of history, grammar and the tools given by men and women who have so thoroughly studied this communique and given us wise counsel, like Mart, Steve, Pooh, and so many others here – and Luther, Wesley, Hadley and so many others through so many years.

    My opinion is, that we confuse ourselves by trying to make human sense out of Spiritual things. That is how we get so much of what God has said to us ‘ out of context,’ that is the only way it can salve our human desire to *fit* the way WE want God to accept us.

    Ok, now I feel like I am rambling so I will close with a prayer for each of you to have a blessed day, in the LORD.

  5. poohpity says:

    Beautiful, Bob.

  6. poohpity says:

    No rambling at all, Amen, InHisHands.

  7. foreverblessed says:

    Be you perfect as I am perfect,
    are the words of Jesus when on earth,
    that line can also be taken as I myself have to be perfect, and do it on my own.
    It is one of those things which are both ways:
    We are to totally rely on Jesus,
    and we are totally to give ourselves over to Him.
    So the line you wrote:
    but also to overcome the self-centered nature of the wrong kind of perfectionism
    that is what we have to do ourselves:
    stop the old man vigorously,
    Hebrew 12:4
    In your struggle against sin, you have not yet resisted to the point of shedding your blood.
    and even cry out to GOd to help you stop it, to give you strength to do that.
    Neil T Anderson has some tips on this, if you feel helpless to break a sinful habit, maybe breaking of bonds, and deliverance is needed.
    And in the mean time, fill yourselves with prayer, worship, bible verses,
    Jesus said: with much prayer and fasting-
    not to feel any better, but to come closes to God. to have an intimate relation with Him and Him alone. He is our Father, our Lord, Kyria.
    .. and then will come the desire for doing good works, going out and visit the lonely,
    there are lots around me, here in my town, even people of my own church.

  8. florida7sun says:

    Mart, I’ve “Been Thinking About” your post this morning. It is taking me throughout Scripture. I cannot offer a quick response.

    Please forgive me, for God is not finished with me. He is the potter, and I rejoice being in His hands to be molded. Some days are rougher than others.

    My thoughts take me to Romans 12:1. Paul writes: “And so, dear brothers and sisters, I plead with you to give your bodies to God because of all He has done for you. Let them be a living and holy sacrifice–the kind He will find acceptable. This is truly the way to worship him.”

    I cannot comprehend the nature and extent of God’s love and His unmerited favor. Yet, I know it exists and desire that He continue to shape me in His image, free of sin.

    Through surrender and earnest confession, seeking His daily bread and forgiveness for transgressions, I have become pliable in His hands. No longer rigid, He skillfully remove imperfections.

    I have also learned that His love shared with others is a healing balm for both the giver and receiver. His love is the basis for abundant life.

    Each glorious day with Jesus is the Sabbath.

    As I labor on the path He has placed before me, I find comfort and rest by clinging to His Word.


  9. tracey5tgbtg says:

    Whenever I hear the account of the thief on the cross I am reminded how God’s grace is so simple and freely given.

    As I kid in Catholic school, I never understood about grace. Maybe no one ever told me, maybe it never registered, but the message I always received in my mind was, “Look at what Jesus did for you. If he was willing to do that for you, then surely you can be good for him.” And I tried to be good, but the harder I tried, the worse I felt. I felt such guilt because I couldn’t be good enough, even my thoughts would be bad.

    It got to the point where I was so scared of the sin I couldn’t stop in myself, that I turned my back on God because I felt he asked too much of me.

    God did not let go of me, however, and to make a long story short, the moment came when I clearly heard God say He loved me – unconditionally – unfathomably. In fact, it was impossible for me to make Him stop loving me.

    I can’t explain in words the relief I felt when I realized I didn’t have to be good because Jesus died for me, but that Jesus died for me because I couldn’t be good enough.

    How can I do anything but love the One who loved me so much?

    If people see grace as freedom to sin, then they don’t see grace. Only a broken and contrite heart can see God’s immeasurable grace.

  10. foreverblessed says:

    THank you all,
    the good the bad and the ugly,
    Bob, never thought of that connection, very good!
    Overcome also means:
    Hold on to your faith in Jesus,
    even when healing seems to wait,
    persecution stays around
    bad habits do not seem to leave you
    Hold on!

  11. foreverblessed says:

    Thank you Tracy for your beautiful testimony!
    “when I realized I didn’t have to be good because Jesus died for me, but that Jesus died for me because I couldn’t be good enough.”

    That we do not forget that!
    I would like to share something I found out lately:
    Coming together and praying in one accord.
    I do that with a lady who has health problems, and so have myself with migraine.
    We come together, and when we start praying, it is as if heaven is opened and Gods life is flowing through me.
    It is like a big miracle! And I realise that healing can come all in once, or slowly, bit by bit, as my spirit is intimately more united with Gods Spirit.
    It is much more effective then when I am on my own.

    I can choose to do this, or I can choose to stay home on my own.
    Do I look up to Jesus as Bob wrote, or do I look to my illness?

  12. Bob in Cornwall England says:


    Thanks for your comment about Holding on.
    I feel so much as you said with regard to “Bad Habits” and my finances.
    Even though I sometimes turn to the wine bottle for comfort, I am still holding on, sometimes it seems by my finger nails, but I am still holding in there with that little Mustard Seed of faith.
    Lord “I believe, help thou my unbelief”

    Reading what I said earlier I realised I made a mistake….

    “The *good* was not instantly transformed to paradise, he had to go through the pain of death on a cross, just as Jesus went through the pain of death on The Cross.
    Paradise or perfection can only be found when we experience death on the cross and rise up to perfection with Christ.”

    That should read “The Bad” although in Jesus he had come good.

    Anyway you all knew what I meant.


  13. SFDBWV says:

    There is a song by Ray Boltz called the “Hammer”, I recommend it for any who listen to Christian music.

    The question asks who nailed Him there, until he saw the hammer in his hand. You, me, we all nailed Him (Jesus) there. We are all as guilty as the darkest spirit we have known.

    In Mart’s question about perfection, he states that “In both cases Hebrews and Revelation those warnings need to be taken seriously by anyone who is not relying on what the Son of God did for us through His “stand in “ life, sacrificial death, and resurrection. They are not, however threats to those who recognize their ever present failures, while relying on the “sanctifying perfection” of Christ to rescue their “soul” and improve their walk.”

    Now I have pondered this statement for a while, each time I read it something doesn’t settle well within me. So I have read over it several times and tried to discern just what it is about that comment that doesn’t sound “right”.

    Granted in the next paragraph, Mart goes on to clarify the fact that once we are “saved” we need not rest on our laurels and do no more.

    In my opinion, I take very seriously every threat God has spoken through His Word. I do not feel content in thinking these threats are for someone else. They speak to remind me of where I have been and the darker nature in me. Just how desperately I need to grab hold of the hem of Jesus’ garment and not let go.

    Just how lost I am if I do not keep my eyes and heart centered on Him.

    As for seeking perfectionism; what, other than the obvious forgiveness of past sins, is the purpose of God’s desire for us to become “reborn”? If not to become better people, more in line with how He wants us to live? After experiencing the supernatural rebirth in spirit, do we not now desire to be Christ like?

    Certainly we will never achieve being Christ like, but it is a goal we should seek after, being perfect even as He is. Perfectionism!


  14. Mart De Haan says:

    Steve, I understand the way in which you are reading these warnings. But if someone takes one of them out of context and applies it literally to themselves, combined with the fear of not measuring up, the fear of losing salvation can result in an emotional anxiety that is hellish.

  15. bubbles says:

    Interesting. . . often times in Christian circles, much emphasis is placed on the external appearance. The physical and behavioral externalities are highly valued.
    The reasoning is if the internal is correct, it will show externally. It sometimes comes across to me as if they are saying, “if you act in a certain manner perfectly, all is well. . . you will have favor in our eyes.” I hope this does not appear that I am trying to be a rebel, because I’m not.

    There was an administrator who began telling his teachers under him they were not doing their best. They did not really KNOW their students. . they were not being excellent in all areas. He reminded us about how valuable excellence is to God and how God blesses the excellent in Scripture. We were told we were “not doing enough” many times. We needed to be more excellent. It was as if we never did enough or if we were doing, then it was never good enough. It was a heavy burden to bear. If the students did not perfom, it was the teachers’ fault. If the same students made more A’s, then the teachers were not being demanding enough.

    When, really, should we have been encouraged to love God more? Should it not be so much about us and all about Him, and how if we are doing our dead-level best, that that is enough? (Now, there is always room to improve and not slack off.) In order to do the best, we should rely on God to help us do so. It is an issue of the heart.

    “And when before the throne, I stand IN HIM COMPLETE, ‘Jesus died my soul to save,’ my lips shall still repeat. Jesus paid it all, all to Him I owe, sin had left a crimson stain-He washed it white as snow.”

    Praise God we can rest in knowing that our salvation rests in what Jesus did and not our own doing.

  16. bratimus says:

    As a Christian when i read the warnings of Revelation 2-3, i hear the words say to Me as a cruch for you are able to walk I am hear to guide you. This sounds better in my head, some of us at times lean on Christ, when we should be carrying Christ. The warnings of Revelation 2-3 are how we fall into tradition religious pratice, then we just play it out in Church. The letter franz grand child wrote “Lord I am, I just don’t Know? I’m just playing it out in Church. Lord please help me.”

    The child sense that something isn’t right. instead of using Church as the cruch or cain, asking God for guidance`

    Like i said this sounds better in my head

  17. florida7sun says:

    One of my favorite “Our Daily Bread” contributors is Julie Ackerman Link. She wrote a wonderful book that I highly recommend: “Above All, Love.”

    Julie explores “what it means to love God by studying the perfect example of God as He loves us with all His heart, soul, mind, and strength.”

    I deeply value the love of my Lord and Savior. His perfect love is truly above all things, as He prepares us for a life eternally in His presence.

    His Word, and its daily application to daily living, equips us to pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, endurance and gentleness. In so doing, with an attitude of surrender to His grace, we love Him in return and are transformed in the process.

    Blessed evening to all, Ray

  18. bratimus says:

    I messed up the wording in my last post, so i’m going to do what my dream told me I’m going back to reading Ezekiel

  19. poohpity says:

    What happens to people when they demand perfection of themselves and others? Do they really fully understand mercy? Do they continue in their relationship to God being humble? Do they start feeling like they deserve all the blessings from God because they have earned them? Do they put themselves on a pedestal of self righteousness? If they demand perfection where is there room for a proper realization of their human nature compared to Christ?

  20. saled says:

    Today’s post is a real help to me. I find a lot of hope in the verses from Hebrews that say we are both sanctified and made complete by the work of Jesus. Sometimes I feel so incomplete, certainly not like someone capable of the overcoming mentioned in Revelation 22.

    There is such emphasis in our society on ‘making something out of yourself’. I think this may be what Mart is referring to when he mentions the “. . agonizing, self-absorbed perfectionism that is “all about us.” We try so hard to make something of ourselves and are so disillusioned when we don’t live up to our expectations. Knowing that Jesus has already made us complete frees us to stop trying to make something of ourselves and focus on love and good works.

  21. Regina says:

    Good Evening All,

    Hope all is well with you.
    Off topic here…
    Still battling flu-like symptoms. Took meds and drank plenty of hot fluids tonight. Thank you, Steve, and all who are praying for me. I’m doing all I can to fight this bug in the natural and trusting God to do the rest. Getting ready to (finally) lay down to rest.

    Steve, you’re right, we definitely need to remember in prayer the families who lost loved ones in the Pirate attack, and the loved ones of the people who died in the earthquake in New Zealand. I heard about that on the news today. Also heard that Monterey, Mexico has almost been taken over by drug lords. Policemen are resigning in droves as they are fearing for their lives. Heard that that once beautiful and prosperous city is now a place of violence and corruption at the highest levels of government.

    Come quickly, Lord Jesus, is my prayer, though I know there is still much work to be done on this side of glory.

    Very misty, and overcast in Texas today (low 70’s). Thunderstorms forcasted for tomorrow.

  22. scout1 says:

    Hey Mart and Everyone,

    Thank you for the recent posts, especially about being accurate when talking about God’s Word. I’ve started back teaching Bible stories to the kids at church and a lot of the comments and things that were discussed here about accuracy come to mind. What a responsibility to tell God’s story to others, especially children. To not misrepresent or misquote events and sayings in the Bible but keeping it understandable for them. I’m so privileged to be doing this again.

    And also this post, about perfectionism, very timely as well. Thank you.

    I too, really liked what Tracey wrote: -“when I realized I didn’t have to be good because Jesus died for me, but that Jesus died for me because I couldn’t be good enough.” I think that is a great thought that can bring about a right attitude.


  23. aboverubies says:


  24. aboverubies says:

    hmmm where to start other than you all are right and then again maybe you are all wrong! lol. that is the mystery of the Word. His good news to us: His Grace! one side we need to do something and aim for the mark of perfection only because we love Him, not for salvation. We know we need to be perfect and our works will be tested to see their worth in gold ;-)

  25. aboverubies says:

    but on the other hand we know we will always fall short but Christ meets us and fully provides perfection through Him. The only way i know i am on track is by my fruit and if i am in love with Him. i am His workmanship and His treasure, so i rely on Him to work out all my cracks and bumps and thorns.

  26. aboverubies says:

    sorry i am having troubles posting. every time i hit submit comment, i am taken to a page that says “not found” hopefully this will post. oh well good night all

  27. foreverblessed says:

    If you read Ezekiel, here is a good one:
    I will cause the shower to come down in his season; there shall be showers of blessing. 34:26
    Our GOd has all the love to give to us, all the peace, mercy, goodness, He can open the showers of blessing on us,
    Open our hearts for Him and receive His blessings, so we are perfect in Him.

  28. SFDBWV says:

    Hebrews 10:30, “For we know Him that hath said,Vengeance belongeth unto me, I will recompense, saith the Lord. And again, The Lord shall judge His people.”
    : 31, “It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God.”
    : 35, Cast not away therefore your confidence, which hath great recompense of reward.”
    : 36, “For ye have need of patience, that after ye have done the will of God, ye might receive the promise.”
    : 38 “Now the just shall live by faith: but if any man draw back, my soul shall have no pleasure in him.”
    : 39 “But we are not of them who draw back into perdition; but of them that believe to the saving of the soul.”

    The truth is I know of no one who seeks out the truth of scripture or who diligently reads the Bible, who is not already a believer.

    I would suppose that there are the few people who pick up the bible and flip through it curious to see what is inside.

    I have known people who are turned against Christianity because of all the “warnings” and negative finger pointing at them.

    However if I am to present the Gospel to an unbeliever, do I do so with a long list of warnings or a long list of promises?

    Or is it a combination of both?

    Once I have accepted Christ and began the life long journey of discovery, by digesting every Word from God. Are the warnings found in scripture, warning signs for me or just there as a comparison for me to measure against?

    Or are these warnings little prods and pokes to keep me on the straight and narrow path?

    I have always believed that once you are saved, you cannot lose your salvation. That what you can lose are rewards from Christ. That we as believers are judged by Christ for our lives after we made the choice to live for Him.

    Not unto damnation but into either a job well done or not and so then placed into the coming Kingdom accordingly.

    Much to consider, when thinking if the warnings of scripture are for the reader, or for whom the reader thinks needs to hear them.


  29. poohpity says:

    I thought it might help to have some descriptors for the brutal club and self absorbed characteristics of perfectionism.

    #1 All-Or-Nothing Thinking: If something is almost perfect it is seen as a failure.

    #2 Critical Eye: They can spot even the tiniest flaw in themselves and others.

    #3 “Push” vs “Pull”: Tend to be pushed towards a goal with the fear of not reaching them which is failure.

    #4 Unrealistic Standards: Self explanatory

    #5 Focus on Results: Do not look at the process but concentrate on the goal.

    #6 Depressed by unmet goals: Beating oneself up with the failure to meet the unrealistic standards

    #7 Fear of Failure:

    #8 Procrastination: Because the standards are so high they do nothing then experience further failure.

    #9 Defensiveness: They do not take constructive feedback well because they see it as failure.

    #10 Low self-esteem: Because of the unrealistic standards they will not be able to meet they consider themselves less than and tend to push others away. They can be lonely and isolate.

    I can see why perfectionism focuses on the person and causes such destruction rather than focusing on the only One who is perfect and when we get to heaven Jesus says, “Job well done” instead of you meant all of your goals why did you need me.

  30. SFDBWV says:

    In thinking about this subject, and trying to come to terms with an answer to it that can satisfy my spirit, I am come to many a thought.

    Just in setting down here to pen and share my thoughts, I am pressed to do my very best, not to do what may just be good enough.

    I am pressed by all I learn from the written Word that whatever I do, I must do it with all vigor and do so with all my strength. Not just do enough to get by.

    If I were to seek a surgeon to perform an operation on myself or a loved one, I would seek one who is trying to do their very best for me. Not one who is just so-so.

    If I were to want someone to come and paint my house, would I settle for someone who is going to do just enough to get paid?

    No I think that we seek perfection in the services we need from another, and so I feel that I should do likewise for any that seek my service as well.

    What is more important than our walk and life with Christ? Should we not seek to be knowledgeable about God as we can? Should we not seek to be all we can for Christ?

    No we will never be filled with God’s knowledge, and no we will never be perfect even as Christ is, but if we are not striving to do so, what then are we striving for?

    To be mediocre?

    Once we obtain salvation, what then are we to do, concerning living out the remainder of our lives? Do we not now live to fill the requirements Jesus has placed upon our hearts and hands?

    Do we not now try to be a living example of Christ, so as to show the unbelieving world that there is a better way to live?

    Should we not do all we can to the best that we can, for Christ?

    As I see it we either seek to do the very best we can, striving for perfection or just settle for mediocre.

    It is God whom empowers us to do any task given us, should we then only do enough to get by or should we give it all we have and do the best we can?

    I get it, nothing I can do is more important than what Jesus did for me, but I also feel that for Him I must do the best I can. So if striving to be the best I can for Christ is seen as seeking perfection for Him, then so be it. Even if I can never achieve it.


  31. bratimus says:

    We came to be because of God’s will to create us the words of God are part of his will. With all the promise of hope the warnings and the doom that will fall on people is all God’s will. My part is to be willing to serve however God wants me to serve, even if that is just saying hi to a person. Paul wrote that through human weakness God’s strength will show. The one narrative we read in the Bible is how time and time again humans rebel against God and how God punishes, but more times forgives in his mercies. The Bible i look at it as a narrative to life rather stories of life.

    If we look around the world today we see many of the same things we read in the Old testament. With all are technologies and advancements has man bettered themselves or are we just pushing away from God that much more.

    it is the will of God that will prevail, and what ever i break I know God can fix, and what ever I mess up I know God can clean up. So I’ll just be willing to serve.

  32. tracey5tgbtg says:

    Obviously, when you love God you want to do your very best for Him, you want to seek His will and do well what He puts in your hand to do.

    What is the greatest commandment? To love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind and with all your strength and the second greatest: to love your neighbor as you love yourself.

    I’m also thinking of “by their fruit you will recognize them.” Matt 7:20

    What is good fruit? Well according to Gal 5:22 it is:

    We are more than workers who have been hired to do a good job, although from the parable of the talents we can see that God does expect us to do good with the things He has given us. Remember that we are His children. His love for us is unconditional – it can’t be earned. It just is. All we can do is accept it.

    When a person truly accepts Jesus Christ into his heart, he will bear good fruit. It may not be apparent to the human eye all the time, but then we don’t know the level from which every person is starting. Fruit doesn’t appear overnight.

    I don’t want to come across as sounding as if I think that once you are a Christian, then everything is peachy and easy. Once you become a Christian, that’s when the real refining work begins. And God will refine us. (c.s.lewis?)

    When we love God and are filled with His Spirit, we are acutely aware of our sins and constantly seek his forgiveness, healing and restoration.

    “…because the Lord disciplines those He loves, and He punishes everyone He accepts as a son.” Hebrews 12:6

  33. pegramsdell says:

    amen tracy amen!

  34. florida7sun says:

    Beautifully written, Tracey. Thank you for sharing.

  35. Regina says:

    Good Evening All

    Mart, Your comment,
    “Am left with a question that seems to deserve more thought: Isn’t it ironic that the perfection that Christ bought for us, once and for all, is just what we need for the kind of agonizing, self-absorbed perfectionism that is “all about us”?

    brought to mind this Bible passage…
    Romans 7:14-21, NIV
    14) We know that the law is spiritual; but I am unspiritual, sold as a slave to sin. 15) I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do. 16) And if I do what I do not want to do, I agree that the law is good. 17 As it is, it is no longer I myself who do it, but it is sin living in me.
    18) I know that nothing good lives in me, that is, in my sinful nature. For I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out. 19) For what I do is not the good I want to do; no, the evil I do not want to do—this I keep on doing. 20) Now if I do what I do not want to do, it is no longer I who do it, but it is sin living in me that does it.
    21) So I find this law at work: When I want to do good, evil is right there with me. 22) For in my inner being I delight in God’s law; 23) but I see another law at work in the members of my body, waging war against the law of my mind and making me a prisoner of the law of sin at work within my members.
    24) What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body of death? 25) Thanks be to God—through Jesus Christ our Lord! So then, I myself in my mind am a slave to God’s law, but in the sinful nature a slave to the law of sin.

    Rainy this morning/warm and sunny this afternoon (low 80’s).

  36. SFDBWV says:

    My apologies to any that I gave the impression that we followers of Christ are considered only as hired hands.

    Though Jesus continually used in His parables, workers as examples of us His follower, that was not my intention.

    My intention is simple, should we not try to be the very best at whatever we do? Should we then not try to be the very best we can for Christ?

    If you are a clerk at a store, should you not show all others that you as a Christian are the best employee you can be? Or even if you have accepted Christ and consider yourself covered for your sins, continue to steal from your employer?

    If you are a car salesman would you as a Christian cheat a customer? What kind of example of “being saved” is that? Sure you might have accepted Christ, but what have you done to improve your lifestyle?

    Once you accept Christ, do you think continuing to stay in sin is acceptable to Him just because He stands in for your punishment?

    No, I believe that once we accept Christ into our hearts, we desire to be more Christ like. Not stay in a condition that Christ found us when first we came to terms with Him.

    That means we strive to be better people, to be more Christ like in our behavior. Since we can never obtain perfection, it then is a life long journey of trying to improve oneself. Led and directed by the Holy Spirit’s urging within you.

    Or do you think that the hour you accepted Christ, you topped out in doing all you needed to “for” Christ? Certainly He had already done all He needed for “you”, but what about what you do for Him?


  37. foreverblessed says:

    Thanks Regina, these verses seem to say, that when we, the self, wants to do good, evil is right there with me.
    That is something we often forget, when walking our daily walk. It is our hearts reaching out to GOd, to open it for His goodness, which brings about the perfectionism that Christ wants to see in us. And the more we reach out the more the fruits of His Spirit can be in us. Galatians 5:22
    So in reaching out we can exceed, so as to speak in old terms. I think that that is exactly the reason why God disciplines us, as Tracey wrote, to make us dependable on GOd, perfectly, that means all of me, all my heart all my time. And as it is now: I am part of the time, in the beginning of the day, in the middle, and at the end, especially at night when I cannot sleep, then I am seeking His Face, as the Psalmist says
    Like someone said above: totally living in Jesus is the Sabbath being fulfilled in us.
    We rest from our own works,

  38. foreverblessed says:

    good morning Steve,
    overhere I am half through the day. Didn’t see your comment when writing, but I try to say the same thing as you do, how do we do our best, by having the sap of the vine flowing to us, the branches, all the time, John 15:5
    THe verse that belongs to resting from our own works is Hebrews 4:10
    What is the effort on our side:
    v11 Let us make every effort to enter that rest, so that no-one will fall by following their example of disobedience.

  39. foreverblessed says:

    THe line Mart wrote:
    to do more than wait and celebrate our good fortune.
    made me think…
    WHo of us has been able to do that, who of us did not have setbacks, illnesses that do stay around for years,
    poor finances,
    persecution, John 15:18-22
    So overcoming means:
    Despite these things holding on
    We have come to share in Christ if we hold on firmly till the end the confidence we had at first. Hebrews 3:14

    And holding on means not giving up in these adverseries!
    Instead of thinking, there must be something wrong with me, because my life is not going smooth, as other seem to go,
    instead of thinking it is hopeless, no improvement,

    instead you think: Jesus is the only Hope I Have, in Him I believe no matter what.

  40. SFDBWV says:

    Good morning foreverblessed, I hope you are enjoying a day of being creative in the art that you do. Is it painting, drawing and or sculpting?

    I am an amateur artist, in that I draw and sometimes carve. I have very little time for such pleasures though and put my creative talents into the area of fabrication, as in building things.

    It is amusing that most artists I have known including myself, are very self critical about their own work. However bristle at someone else criticizing it.

    Always striving to do better work, we seem always to never quite achieve it, but keep trying. I like that kind of attitude and think it a good way to live.

    This past fall we had what I would call a nice long protracted fall, I see this weather we are presently having here as a nice long protracted spring. Even though spring won’t officially be here for a few weeks, it is a combination of rain, snow, cold, freezing and tolerable temperatures. We still have snow/ice on the ground.


  41. foreverblessed says:

    Steve you are so right, being perfectionistic, it is not good enough. Terrible. I try to see that parts are good, and with each new painting more parts are good. And so it slowly gets better, just like our own lives.
    I mostly draw in my sketchbook, do a painting once in a while.
    This year I took the spring inside the house in the form of a flowe bulb, Amaryllus, See it coming out, the flowers slowly unfolding. I sketch them, and want to make a series of small paintings, calling it: hope, or, wake up, or new life!

  42. Bob in Cornwall England says:

    Everything waking up here, the trees are in blossom and the flowers out.
    I have just seen a plaque with the word HOPE on it in our village charity shop.
    I am having a difficult day and need that hope of new life breaking out of the winter of my current situation.

    Wake Up to a bright new day!


  43. Mart De Haan says:

    Bob, it doesn’t seem fair for you to have to be an inspiration to us through your response to so many difficult matters, but– in so many ways– you have been an encouragement and example by the way you keep rising from “the struggle” to embrace the hope of the only One who can save any of us. Thinking of you bro…

  44. Bob in Cornwall England says:

    Thank You Mart,

    That is such a lovely thing to say.

    We are told that everything we do and say should be for the uplifting and encouragement of others.
    Just think of a world where everyone puts the feelings of others before themselves.
    I am reading about prophesy at the moment and like earlier topics it shows just how important it is to see everything prophetic in the context of Gods plan for mankind and the restoration of Israel and Judah and the establishment of Christ Kingdom on Earth where Israel will become one nation again and there will be no end to His reign. (not to mention salvation :-)
    In the context of God’s plan for mankind, a bad day in Bob’s life is not so important, but in the context of God’s love for us, it is the most important thing on His mind.
    Thats why we should all encourage each other and love each other. God will take care of all the other stuff, setting us completely free to love others in His name.

    Thanks for your love today Mart and thank you Jesus for giving me this day to receive it in.


  45. florida7sun says:

    Bob, thank you for your beautiful witness. God bless you. Ray

  46. afranz says:

    Bob, God’s mercies are new every morning..” I’m counting on that also. Praying for you here in Kansas.

  47. Regina says:

    Good Evening All

    Hope all is well with you today. Feeling much better now (hope the same for BruceC). Just a stopped up/runny nose, but SO tired of taking medication! lol! I’ll take more in the morning because I have two choir related engagements to attend. Enjoying reading all of your comments on this blog topic, and would love to share more of my thoughts, but I have to turn it kinda early tonight. Long day tomorrow.

    Sunny and cool in Texas today (mid 50’s/60 degrees).

  48. bec4jc says:

    Tracy, thank you. I also think that Jesus was good enough to do what I couldn’t do because I’m not good enough.

    You said: “If people see grace as freedom to sin, then they don’t see grace. Only a broken and contrite heart can see God’s immeasurable grace.”

    I agree with this and that is what does it for me when it comes to putting it all in His hands. He will mold me into what he wants me to be. That is perfect like Him although Jesus has really stated that for me, the shed blood of a perfect man.

    Mart, you are right in saying that if we take perfectionism too seriously we will mess up our lives. Mental conditions come about for many because we take outselves too seriously and try to be perfect. If we do that because we think we need to make our Father happy we short change Him and His love for us(IMO).

    It’s hard to keep a good balance but then if we try to keep a good balance then we again are not trusting God, that He is shaping us spiritually. We come down hard on ourselves whenever we come short of what we feel that we need to do. But, then remember, we all fall short of the glory of God.

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