Perfection. It’s a chase; a chase most of us engage in at some point in this life, yet one that nobody ever wins.
We want the perfect figure, job, performance, relationship, kids, etc. Chasing perfection in these areas can be dangerous, and endless, but what is arguably the most dangerous chase of all is chasing perfection in our walk with the Lord.
We would be crazy to believe that chasing perfection doesn’t bleed into our spiritual lives.
To cut right to the heart of it, in our chase for perfection in our walks with the Lord, we find ourselves further and further from Christ.
Before I continue, by no means am I saying it is wrong to want to be as good as you can in life - in your job, in your marriage, as a parent, in ministry, etc. Scripture itself tells us in Colossians 3, “Whatever you do, do your work heartily as unto the Lord rather than men.” What I’m feeling pulled to write about here is the warning some of us need in the process to avoid getting caught up in a chase for perfection we were never meant to run in.
Three things happen when we get caught up in that chase:
We wear ourselves out to no avail.
We leave things in the dust.
We value the law over grace.
When Jesus’ feet walked to the cross, and then out of the tomb, our need to be perfect walked with Him. Jesus IS our perfection.
He lived the perfect life, walked in perfect obedience and was our perfect sacrifice. So when I decide that I need to chase perfection on my own, I’m running in the opposite direction of Jesus because He IS perfection. He is MY perfection, my righteousness. I can find this nowhere outside of Him. My chase only stands to wear me out with defeat in-hand.
My victory is in Christ alone. My righteousness is in Christ alone. My perfection is in Christ alone. When I rest in this, it’s enough for my soul and I do not end up drained of all that I am.
To go beyond this, our relentless chase for perfection kicks up dust as we run, and things that matter get left in it. Even when I am chasing perfection in my walk with the Lord, it’s entirely probable that everything the Lord has called me to do will suffer for the sake of the chase. Ministry, family, etc. Among what suffers is my understanding of my identity in Christ.
When I understand my identity in Christ, I seek to live in that rather than chase the idea of perfection, which has already been achieved on my behalf by Christ.
The truth is, when I chase perfection, I am choosing to believe that my justification comes from the Law rather than from the grace of God through Christ. And this only leads us away from Christ, not closer to Him. When you read Galatians, you see that Paul spends most of the book explaining this very thing to the people.
In Galatians 5, verse 4, he writes, “You have been severed from Christ, you who are seeking to be justified by law; you have fallen from grace.”
I could write pages about what God spoke to me through this chapter, but this verse summarizes it pretty well.
In our chase for perfection, we risk much, starting and ending with our walk with the Lord. This is not to say that we lose our salvation. This is to say that we lose the joy of our salvation, and the desire to go deeper. What joy is found in wearing myself down to be justified by the law? I find much more joy in knowing that the grace of Christ covers my imperfection.
I have lost much in this chase. I have burned myself out, I have left things in the dust, I have lost who I am in Christ at times.
And what I have finally grasped (or am currently beginning to grasp) is that my job is not to be perfect. My responsibility is to do all that I do for the glory and honor of God, by the grace of God through Jesus.
Perfection was attained for me at the cross. I do not need to chase it, I need only to cling to Christ.