Are you perfect yet?

Good morning everyone,
 
Our theme for this month: “The end of anxiety and despair”
 
Our Bible verse for today: “Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and reaching forward to what is ahead, I pursue as my goal the prize promised by God’s heavenly call in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 3:13-14 (CSB)
 
Our thought for today: “Are you perfect yet?
 
I’m old enough to remember when the microwave oven first started to become widely available to the average household. It was an amazing thing to see food cooked in minutes when it used to take an hour or more in a conventional oven. I’m also old enough to remember the comedian Joan Rivers and her sketch about microwave ovens and impatient people. In the skit Joan stood in front of a microwave as it was cooking something. She was obviously impatient, tapping her foot and drumming her fingers on the counter. Finally, in great frustration and agitation she peers through the little window on the front of that microwave and yells, “HURRY UP!”
 
We Christians get like that when it comes to our own spiritual maturity. We get frustrated with ourselves and believe we should be further along in our growth than we are. I mentioned in a previous devotional that we often tend to be our own worst critics and our own worst enemies. In yesterday’s devotional I noted that sometimes the loudest and most critical voice in our head is our own voice. It’s us. Never mind the demons whispering the lies of Satan. Sometimes we do more damage to ourselves than they could ever do to us. That then causes us to have a poor self-image. Our perceived shortcomings cause us stress, anxiety and despair.
 
In Philippians 3:13-14 Paul was describing the process of his own spiritual growth. His entire life consisted of a slow, steady, progressive process of transformation from the man he once was, into the man God intended for him to be. It was a lifelong process that would only be completed when he finally arrived in heaven.
 
The theological term for that is “sanctification”. It’s the process of being transformed more and more into the likeness of Christ. But it is a process and it is lifelong. Therefore, we need to give ourselves a break. You aren’t going to become perfect overnight. You can’t stand in front of the spiritual microwave and yell, “HURRY UP!”
 
It is true there are things you can do that can cause the process to move along faster than it otherwise would have. That’s a function of how serious you are as a disciple of Christ and how much time you dedicate to placing yourself in a position before God whereby the Holy Spirit can mold and shape you, transforming you from the person you were, into the person God wants you to be. You can influence the speed with which that happens, but it is still a lifelong process.
 
Are you perfect yet? No, no you aren’t. Neither am I, and we won’t be this side of heaven. So, give yourself a break. Stop being so critical of yourself. Do your part as a good disciple of Jesus and then relax and let the Holy Spirit do his part – in His way and in His time.
 
God bless,
Pastor Jim 
Copyright © 2022 Oak Hill Baptist Church, All rights reserved.

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