I walked into my daughters' room this morning to inspect that her chores were completed before heading out the door to school. I walked in, flipped the light on and said, "well, her bed is made...sort of." Just as the words left my mouth there was a check in my spirit.
"It's not about perfection Stephanie, it's about obedience."
Wow. It's true. I can choose to look at the slightly disheveled pillows and the sheets that were not pulled up tight and square. Or I can choose to see the effort. I can choose to take note of the obedience on display from my ten-year-old daughter. And I can choose to see that this morning she didn't even need a reminder.
How often is my perspective on obedience based on perfection?
Yet how often do I head down a path of obedience toward God, only to get distracted by the next shiny object? I turn to the left or to the right, only to realize later, I got off the path and made a wrong turn!
Can you relate to this?
What I believe God wants us to hear today is that he knows the pleasures and treasures of this life distract our attention away from him. He is not surprised. Just as I should not be surprised on the days when chores are forgotten. It is out of distraction - not defiance that chores have not been tended to in the time frame I prefer.
I CAN expect perfection. So COULD God. He gives grace instead. So, could I.
I believe God wants us to know that he is more concerned about our willingness to walk in obedience than how perfectly we walk. Faith is a journey. It is a lifelong pursuit. Perfection is not the pathway to the destination we pursue. Obedience is. Obedience is the way to the heart of Christ.
Hebrews 4:16 (HCSB) says, "Therefore let us approach the throne of grace with boldness, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us at the proper time."
The grace that comes to us, as the mother gently correcting the distracted child. Grace is a re-focusing of our vision and our intention. And as the verse tells us, we can boldly approach the throne of God, of grace, and he WILL surely help us when we need redirecting.
How many time have I corrected my girls? How many times have I re-directed behavior or re-focused them on the task at hand? Oh, help me! It has been unending - and at times I tire of my own voice. But just as they are works in progress in need of coaching, guiding and redirection, so do I. And so do you.
Perhaps you are reading this today and you believe that God is frustrated with you. Maybe you believe that you have made one too many ventures off course and God is tired or correcting you. Maybe you think God's grace and patience with you will run dry like the desert floor.
Let me share with you something it took me a long time to understand. God's love, grace and mercy are not limited. His grace and mercy and love extend far beyond the number of times I have and will mess up. His well does not run dry.
So today I ask you to consider this thought for a moment. Have you have been striving for perfection when God is asking for obedience? Has the belief that God expects perfection kept you from moving forward - and so you don't move at all? Have you been striving to perform, when all the while God just wants YOU? Have you considered his longing for a relationship with you is what drove Christ to die on the cross for you? If you are striving, performing and seeking perfection in all you say and do, I challenge you to rest in God's amazing grace and remember this journey of faith is more about obedience than perfection.