Answers to Your Questions: You Don’t Have To Be Perfect
Q: Sometimes I feel that I’m never going to be good enough to please God. For example, the Bible says that we should pray without ceasing and give our lives in service to Jesus and others, but those goals seem impossibly high. What’s the use of even trying?
A: The Lord gives us goals to help us grow as people, so we’ll be happier, and so our lives will be more meaningful and better in every way. He doesn’t do it because He wants or expects us to be perfect—in fact, He knows we never will be. It is we who sometimes set unrealistic goals for ourselves and thereby set ourselves up for feelings of failure. The Devil’s favorite weapon against Christians is discouragement, and condemnation follows close behind.
When you feel condemned, it’s because you think God won’t forgive you for something you did wrong. Often the problem is in the “thinking,” because the more you dwell on it, the worse it gets. When you give in to condemnation, this effectively cancels out your faith to ask the Lord to help you overcome these negative feelings, because you feel you don’t deserve His help or other blessings. When you give in to discouragement and condemnation, you relinquish your power to fight back. Once you’re in the pits of condemnation it’s very hard to climb out, because the Devil tries to convince you that is right where you belong.
But Jesus knows you perfectly—the good and the bad—and still He offers you His unconditional love. He isn’t out there with a clipboard, recording your every slip or fall. Rather, He rejoices each time you make even a small step to follow Him. In His eyes, the only failure is the one who falls and fails to get up to try again. He doesn’t even expect you to pick yourself up. He’ll reach down and pick you up Himself, and then give you the faith and gumption to keep on going till you get it right. He only asks that you are willing to try, and that you believe He loves you and is there to help. So if you feel condemned, follow these simple steps to victory:
- Admit that you alone can’t attain your goals, and that only Jesus in you can make it.
- Refuse to believe the Devil when he comes around with condemnation and guilt.
- Remind yourself that in God’s eyes, failure is not in the falling but in not getting up to try again.
- Thank God that even seeming defeats are victories if you learn from them.
- When you stumble, refuse to quit. Lean on Jesus. Ask for His perspective. Then get up and try again.
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