“Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.’” Matthew 25
I spend a lot of time going to Christian events. On any given week I go to at least 3 church or chapel services. On top of that, I typically teach some sort of church or small group gathering twice a week, and as I further my education at a Bible school, it’s typical for all of my classes to have some connection to the Bible.
All this time in the Christian bubble is exhausting.
Christians aren’t always the best people to be around. They can be cruel, manipulative, spiteful, and hypocritical. And as a Christian, I am certain that I also suffer from those same pitfalls. On an even more basic level, as a human, I am positive that we all have problems with being “a good person” all the time.
I feel very safe saying that, “no one is perfect,” not a single person on this earth is flawless. More importantly, not one of us can attain perfection.
Have you ever set a goal for yourself? Perhaps a new year’s resolution? The most basic part of goal setting is to make a goal that is attainable. If you weigh 160 pounds, and your goal is to lose 100 pounds, that’s a bad goal. If you are 16 years old and work part time at a gas station and your financial goal for the year is to make a million dollars, that’s a bad goal. Get the drift? Goals must be attainable.
If your goal is to accomplish something you must have the ability to accomplish it, or the end result will absolutely be disappointment.
So why do Christians set a goal of perfection?
Now to clarify, not all people who call themselves Christians do this. However there are many Christians that do, and even more who live in a way that indicates that this is what they believe.
Your reality is not what you say about yourself, but how you live.
This is not the way we are supposed to live. To strive toward perfection is exhausting, to strive towards perfection is not only unnecessary for salvation, but in direct conflict with the idea of salvation.
“What must I do to be saved?” They said, “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and you will be saved, you and your household.” Acts 16
There is no request for humanity to attempt to make itself worthy of being saved. The very nature of the salvation story is that, we as humans, can do nothing to deserve such forgiveness. Therefore an attempt to make yourself worthy is actually a challenge to the loving nature of God.
We tell ourselves that being forgiven is great and all, but now comes the hard work. Now we have to make ourselves “holy” or “pure” or perhaps we even have to try and be “Christ-like.”
Well I have good news, you can’t be any of those things. You cannot attain holiness, and you cannot become pure. It’s time that we stop trying.
Jesus isn’t your self-help tool. Jesus didn’t come so that you could become a perfect person. The goal of Jesus’s life was not your self-glorification.
“Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’
“The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me. Matthew 25
Jesus came to show us how to live, and how to love.
Instead of trying to become holy, we are called to take care of the old and lonely.
Instead of attempting to be pure, we are asked to comfort the widow and the orphan.
Instead of chasing after perfection, we are tasked with the care of the homeless and hungry.
Read this verse again.
“The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me. Matthew 25.
You are already good enough to do things for Jesus. The culture of legalism and its poisonous lies will chain you in fear, forcing you to believe that you aren’t quite good enough to really do anything of importance.
Your effort is not needed to save you, your effort is wanted to help those in need.
I encourage us to escape from the areas of legalism and lies that enslave us, and to experience life as was originally intended.
Free from guilt, free from fear, and displaying the love of Jesus.