Why You Don’t Have to Be on the “Nice” List this Christmas

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Life is not about perfection - it's about growth! #CoffeeForYourHeart via HolleyGerth.com http://holleygerth.com/free-words/

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It’s the time of year when we talk about being on the “naughty” or “nice” list. For most of us, Nice = Perfect. And we don’t just pursue it at Christmas, we try to get it all right all year. That’s exhausting. Not to mention impossible. And God has a better way for us to live.

I’ve learned this the hard way because I know Perfectionism well. Let’s call her “Ms. P” for short.

She showed up in my life somewhere in the middle of elementary school and decided to stick around. Do you know her too?

Oh, on the outside she’s prim and proper. But beneath all that she’s a bossy, inconsiderate, joy-stealing, lie-telling, impossible-to-please taskmaster who’s never satisfied. She doesn’t play well with others. I don’t know why I kept her around for so long. I tried to get her to leave a few times, but she always came back — until I found some truth that finally sent her packing.

You see, Ms. P liked to quote a verse to me (no surprise there — the devil did it when he tried to tempt Jesus in the wilderness). Her favorite Scripture was, “Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect” (Matt. 5: 48). Every time I heard those words, I thought about how I was falling short and must try harder.

But I finally decided to look a little closer at what that verse might really mean. I looked for other verses that used the word perfect. Lo and behold, look what was hiding in Hebrews: “By one sacrifice he has made perfect forever those who are being made holy” (10: 14).

What? I’ve already been made perfect? I thought at first my Bible might have a typo. But it turns out it’s true. I’ve already been made perfect. And so have you.

Here’s how it works: There’s only One who is perfect. To be perfect, I’d have to be Him. But wait —“ I no longer live, but Christ lives in me” (Gal. 2: 20). When I gave my life to Jesus, He gave His to me too. In God’s eyes, I’m as perfect as Christ. All that sin? It’s settled once and for all. Whew. Jesus shows Ms. P to the door and says, “I’ll take it from here.”

Also, the Hebrew word for “perfect” is different than our typical Western definition. It actually speaks more to the concept of being “complete” and how we are all we need to be in Christ.

Does that mean we’re off the hook and can do whatever we want? Nope, that’s where the second part of the verse from Hebrews comes in. We’ve been made perfect — check — but we’re still in the process of being made holy.

God’s goal in our lives is growth.

So what’s the difference between growth and “perfection”?

Perfectionism is all or nothing.

Growth is little by little.

Perfectionism is all about the goal.

Growth is more about the journey.

Perfectionism is about outward appearances.

Growth is about what happens on the inside.

Perfectionism is about what we do.

Growth is about who we’re becoming.

Take a deep breath and know that you don’t have to be perfect, friend. You have a Savior who loves you–and over a lifetime He will help you grow to become more like Him.

It’s time to shred the nice list.

 

XOXO

Holley Gerth

 

 

More encouragement like this: You’re Already Amazing

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