Perfection is a tall order on this broken planet. This becomes very clear in the middle of January when goals for improvement start veering off the course we charted for 2017. We cheat on diets, take a break from the gym, skip a weekend at church, spend money when we shouldn’t, drink too much caffeine, stop trying to meditate…(um, feel free to contribute at any time so I don’t feel so alone).
We are an odd species. One day we are full of optimism and vigor, and the next we are easily derailed by unexpected challenges or our own behavior. Letting ourselves down by breaking resolutions can easily lead to some disappointment. Often, we even grow accustomed to this feeling and shrug it off.
But, what about deeper flaws in our character that persist over the years? What if we make some big mistakes that change the course of our life and maybe even the lives of those around us? What if our mistakes are considered sins? How do we cope with those levels of disappointment? Does God feel disappointed in us too? Will he give up on us if we make a really big mistake?
God understands how hard this life is.
This High Priest of ours understands our weaknesses, for he faced all of the same testings we do, yet he did not sin. Hebrews 4:15 New Living Translation (NLT)
When God chose to reveal himself as Jesus he took on the hardships of human life. He sympathizes with our feelings and temptations because he endured them as well. He knows firsthand how difficult this life is to maneuver. He provides us hope because he faced the things we face, and he got through them without sin. We can look to his life for encouragement and strive to follow the example he set.
God chose to forgive us.
Christianity believes that God wipes away sin and reconciles his relationship with us through Christ’s sacrifice on the cross.
Certainly, not every setback or mistake is a sin. Sin is an ugly, tough word. I don’t like the way it feels when I write it. But, the fact is we all sin. Jesus was the only perfect person to walk on Earth. It was his sacrifice that brings us forgiveness when we acknowledge, confess, and repent our sin to God.
For God was in Christ, reconciling the world to himself, no longer counting people’s sins against them. And he gave us this wonderful message of reconciliation. 2 Corinthians 5:19 NLT
Jesus took God’s wrath on the cross and called it done, finished, paid in full. Sin no longer separates believers from God. Trusting in his care provides a fresh start and secures our future with him.
When he had received the drink, Jesus said, “It is finished.” With that, he bowed his head and gave up his spirit. John 19:30 New International Version (NIV)
God loves us. He has plans for us.
What remains for us as a result of Jesus’ ultimate sacrifice for sin is God’s unconditional love. We can’t earn it. We can’t change it. We can’t lose it. We don’t deserve it, but we have it. Forever.
We cannot surprise, frustrate, or let God down. Because he already knows what is ahead.
For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Jeremiah 29:11 NIV
God may be disappointed for us, but not in us.
Of course, we have free will and therefore, we will probably make choices that lead us off course from time to time. In those instances, God may be disappointed for us, but not in us. He wanted something better for us because he loves us. But, in those moments when all we see is failure, God still sees opportunity. He uses our trouble to bring about good and to draw us closer to him. He extends grace.
And we know in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. Romans 8:28 NIV
We are flawed, but not forgotten.
God never forgets or dismisses us in times of trouble. It is never too late to seek his help and reassurance in our lives. We can start viewing problems as alerts for prayer and build a stronger relationship with him. An insightful look at our past experiences will show us how his good works pulled us through. We can reference Scripture for wisdom in any circumstance, temptation, and emotion we face. Lastly, we can obediently act when we sense his guidance encouraging us along a certain path.
This year, like every year, difficulties will come our way. We need willpower, forgiveness, and stamina among many other things to make it through. Sin, mistakes, and unwanted flaws will persist. We will make choices. What a blessing it is to be able to make choices!
One choice we have is whether or not we will work on our relationship with God. We can choose if we allow our trouble to lead us further away from him or draw us closer to him. He has a preference in that choice, but he loves us either way.
God will always pursue you. You are not forgotten.
A Prayer for Your Week:
Thank you for seeing me as I am and loving me unconditionally. I sin, make mistakes, and I am full of flaws, but you never forget about me. When I feel disappointed you stand beside me and encourage my heart to constantly seek more of you. Help me find the reassurance I need through past experiences, prayer, Scripture, and the opportunities you send my way. I trust you and patiently wait as you work in and through me, ultimately bringing all things together for my good. In Jesus’ Name, Amen
A Few Scriptures of Hope to Battle Messages of Defeat:
- When we say: “I really messed up today.”
Scripture tells us to try again tomorrow: Great is his faithfulness; his mercies begin afresh each morning. Lamentations 3:23 NLT
- When we say: “Everybody is doing more or better than me.”
Scripture reminds us of our unique abilities: Pay careful attention to your own work, for then you will get the satisfaction of a job well done, and you won’t need to compare yourself to anyone else. Galatians 6:4 NLT
- When we say: “I’ll never get it right. I can’t do it. It’s too hard.”
Scripture offers a lighter load: Take my yoke upon you. Let me teach you, because I am humble and gentle at heart, and you will find rest for your souls. Matthew 11:29 NLT
- When we say: “I’m confused, lost, broken, and giving up.”
Scripture provides hope: Jesus looked at them and said, “With man this is impossible, but not with God; all things are possible with God.” Matthew 10:27 NIV