For God has done what the law, weakened by the flesh, could not do. By sending His own Son in the likeness for sinful flesh and for sin, He condemned sin in the flesh in order that the righteous requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not according to the flesh but according to the Spirit. Romans 8:3-4
Ever feel like you can’t do anything right? If so, you likely live with some anger or it’s caused you to withdraw and never stick your neck out for any reason.
I grew up in a home with many unspoken expectations. Children were expected to be little adults. While the rules weren’t spelled out, you learned what they were by sensing tension and disapproval. No running in the house. No loud playing – like yelling, laughing. No leaving water spots on shower walls. Never leaving a faucet dripping. Not using too much water when you washed the dishes. No bringing in mud or stones on your feet. No rolling your suitcase over floor surfaces. No asking to use a restroom while visiting someone’s house. I never realized how ridiculous some of them were until I was an adult and started comparing notes with friends.
It’s still easy for me to be perfectionistic, savoring perfect order, working to achieve the highest of standards. A good amount of this leaked into my child raising. (Thankfully, grandchildren give you another go-around.)
The Law was given by God, not to frustrate me, not to try to force me to be perfect, but to show me that I was not perfect, and that there was no way I could be perfect. The Law was God’s kind way of pointing me to Himself. The Law’s unattainability showed me my need of a Savior who could forgive my sin and then dress me in His perfection. Jesus fulfilled the Law on my behalf.
As God’s child, my striving is over. Spirit-enabled living is mine to enjoy. Grace abounds and feeling like a failure should never mark my experience. At Calvary, God took the Law, posted it on the walls of heaven, and stamped PAID IN FULL next to my name. I didn’t earn the favor, I just accepted the gift of the pardon.
Oh Father, You were not cruel. You were up front. You gave a Law I could not keep. I needed Your Son. Now, I can hold my head up high and look into Your eyes with confidence. Amen
2 thoughts on “Striving vs. Spirit-Enabled Living”
This message writes my story – it is so similar to what you have said Christine. Perfectionism has always been my goal. I would hide it behind, “God deserves my perfection, my excellence.” My moniker was,”Miss Perfect.” I was actually proud of that. (Well we know what happens with pride….the fall). Finally I realized the spiritual meaning of perfection. It’s not no mistakes…it’s “completeness.” I complete my part and God makes up all the difference. If it’s in His will, He’ll never start what He doesn’t complete. Thank God for His grace and mercy.
Love absolutely love your words:
“It’s still easy for me to be perfectionistic, savoring perfect order, and prizing high standards. A good amount of this leaked into my child raising. (Thankfully, grandchildren give you another go-around.)”
I just wanted to say Thank You for coming to Evangel this past weekend. Your message hit hard in some areas of my life that I have tried to ignore.