August 14 – How’s your Aim?

August 14 – How’s your Aim?

Matthew 5:48

“Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect.” (Matthew 5:48)

Here are a couple of statements that are true, but dangerous. They’re often used by those who settle for too little of the Christian life:

  • “Nobody’s perfect, and God understands that. I, too, am weak and flawed.”
  • “God loves me unconditionally and accepts me just the way I am.”

I’m a little uneasy about these common statements, and maybe you are too. Perhaps it’s because the thought is incomplete, and we worry about what conclusion the person draws from the statement. Perhaps we hear, “no one is perfect,” but what is left unsaid? Is “so don’t bug me about changing for the better. “

He accepts me as I am to transform me into what he designed me to be. He loves me too much to leave me just the way I am. That would be far too low an expectation. It is God who saved us and chose us to live a holy life. (1 Timothy 1:9 NLT). We are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so that we can do the good things that he planned for us long ago (Ephesians 2:10). The purpose of our salvation, from the beginning, was to make us what we what we are not. Holy!

Some people have too low of expectations for theological reasons. As we have seen, they just don’t believe God will change human beings that much. But there are others who have low expectations for psychological reasons. They believe too few people have the ability to choose God’s way – most have been disabled by circumstance. Who’s right??

The truth is that the church is full of hurting people, some battered more than others. And when people are blind to their own sinful behavior, or their “chooser” is so bummed up that it can’t function, or their “truster” is so violated they can’t get through to God, A trained counselor, using some of the tools of the profession, may be able to help them see themselves, others, and God in clearer perspective. Then they can begin to trust God and choose God’s alternatives.

A lowered expectation of what the Holy Spirit can do without professional intervention, may come from making the therapy model the rule rather than the exception. It’s easy to see where lowered expectations of Holy Spirit generated possibilities come from. Americans in general, believe less and less in sin and guilt, and more and more in a battered psyche that needs healing. We are no longer guilty sinners needing salvation; we are victims of someone else’s hurtful behavior and we need to have a healthy self-image restored, by therapy if necessary.

We’ve seen some of the dangers of aiming too low in our Christian life. But the opposite can derail us, as we’ll soon see. Some see the grand promises we’ve just discovered and think they mean we can become sinlessly perfect in this life, perhaps even instantaneously, through a full post conversion experience.

How do we read the same Bible and come up with such different answers? By the way you define quote “sin,” or “perfect.” Sin has been defined in various ways:

Sin is an action that violates God’s laws– feelings don’t count. Christ carefully designated wrong attitudes as sin as well as outward acts.

Sin is a transgression of the law. We have to agree with that definition because it’s a biblical statement! (1 John 3:4). But it was not intended as an exhaustive definition of sin – There are other attitudes and actions which don’t actively transgress the law but which fall short, such as sins of omission or failing to think or do as I ought.

Sin is any transgression, any falling short of the moral character of God. Here’s one that is thoroughly biblical because God standard is to be just like him morally. (Matthew 5:48) and yet, “all have sinned and are falling short of the glorious character of God.” Who is as good as God? As contented, courageous, clean as Jesus? Who acts always in love towards others? We’re all falling short. If we lower the standard, then it’s easier to reach it. If I’m guilty of sin only when I deliberately violate the known will of God, maybe it’s possible to live a life relatively free of sin. Of course, it’s no doubt better to aim too high and fall short than to aim too low and hit the target! In fact, Paul prays for the perfection of the Christians in Corinth and tells them to aim for it! (1 Corinthians 13:9, 11). Are you aiming too high? Too low? On target? How do you know?

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