Sunday, September 19, 2010

Showing Our Character

For this very reason, make every effort to add to your faith goodness; and to goodness, knowledge; and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, perseverance; and to perseverance, godliness; and to godliness, brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness, love. For if you possess these qualities in increasing measure, they will keep you from being ineffective and unproductive in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.
- 2 Peter 1:5-8 -

This season, we have talked about the goal of maturity. That to become more like Christ, we must continue to mature. We must grow in the characteristics in the 2 Peter verse, and that we must support each other in this.

Often, when we hear the refrain of improvement or maturity, we assume that the goal is perfection. I know that when our assistant principal talks to our middle school students he often starts by saying, "Hey, I know that we're a pretty good school, but we can be better." The students hear this as asking for perfection, because the next thing after good must be perfect, right?

Obviously, I'm setting this up to disagree. The goal of Christ-like maturity is not perfection. It can't be. There's a simple reason why it can't be. God has told us that the perfection, the strong, the finished are not the ones that God chooses to work through. All throughout the Bible, God takes people who are "in-process" and works through them. David and his affairs, Moses and his excuses, Paul and his anger, Thomas and his doubt.

God uses the weak to shame the strong (1 Cor. 1:27). So if the goal of this whole maturity thing is not perfection, what is it?



The continual attempt.

And that's a good question for all of us this season. Are we striving? Or do we just hear things, and they go in one ear and out the other. This is a good question for our tennis games as well. Are we trying? Or do we give in to frustration, laziness, anger or other things when things get worse.

If we're trying, the glory of God comes through even more. Our mistakes will serve to glorify God, because they'll show that we're not the reason that things happen, we're not the ultimate source of good, but instead God is. When we get things right, when we show maturity, our very mistakes in the process will point to the way that God is involved.

So don't expect to just be perfect, expect to battle.

Always focus, always battle.

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