“Please don’t let me mess up. Help me not to make a mistake.”
I stood in front of our church congregation, filling in as a member of the worship team. I would be leading out on the next song. My stomach was in knots as I thought through all that could possibly go wrong, things that have gone wrong in the past.
I could forget the words. My voice could crack. I could miss that high note.
Listening to the song’s intro (my heart obviously not worshiping), I realized something quite convicting – I’m quick to admit I’m not perfect. I talk about transparency and the importance of being real, of extending grace in our weaknesses and laughing at our embarrassing moments.
But I don’t like people to see me make mistakes. I want to control which imperfections they observe.
It’s one thing to talk about our mistakes and embarrassments, even our sins, in the past tense. It’s another matter to mess up when people are watching.
For most of my life, I’ve aimed at perfection. It seems a worthy pursuit. Jesus Himself said, “You are to be perfect as your heavenly Father is perfect” (Matthew 5:48).
When the Bible uses this word perfect, however, it has the connotation of completeness and maturity.
This term “can be used in a relative or absolute sense…God’s perfection is absolute; man’s is relative reaching the goal set for Him by God with each individual different according to one’s God-given ability.” – Lexical Aids to the New Testament, Key Word Study Bible
God is perfect. He’s sinless and holy. He needs and lacks nothing.
We, His children, on the other hand, are in the process of becoming perfect and mature. We’ve been declared righteous and our sins have been washed away. Yet the Holy Spirit is about the lifelong work of forming Christ in us – and He’s not in a hurry.
True perfection, like all of Christianity, revolves around Jesus, not our own efforts to keep a good image or avoid mistakes. Jesus is our example, as well as our Source of transformation. He uses even our weaknesses to mature us and make us like Christ. (See 2 Corinthians 12:9-10.)
So today, instead of focusing on myself and the image I want to maintain, I choose to rejoice in the work God is doing in my heart, my life and my home.
How about you? How is Jesus perfecting you these days?