"Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation.  The old has passed away; behold, the new has come. All this is from God, who through Christ reconciled us to himself and gave us the ministry of reconciliation; that is, in Christ God was reconciling  the world to himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and entrusting to us the message of reconciliation. Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, God making his appeal through us. We implore you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God. For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God." (2 Corinthians 5:17-21, ESV)
Enough is never enough
This morning i was reminded that sometimes no matter how hard we try we do not always get things right. Our best efforts, our best intentions, no matter how motivated we might be it will never be perfect. Sometimes our intentions are not noble, they are mischievous. Sometimes our failures are mistakes. But in the end the result is the same. A perfect 'score' has not been achieved. Even the best efforts, the noblest intentions, have some taint of imperfection. "A little leaven leavens the whole lump." (Galatians 5:9, ESV) - it only takes a hint of selfish ambition, or pride, or covetousness, or any other form of sin, and the sin works it way through and taints the whole. "If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us." (1 John 1:8, ESV) There are two expressions that kind of bother me. The first one is that there is good in everyone. Good and evil are used in relevant terms. In one sense i could agree with this expression. When used in a human comparison point of view, yes this is possible. But when used in light of God's perfection this is not true.
The second is giving "110%". This would imply that it is possible to give more than your all. By the very definition our "all" IS 100%. It is impossible to give more than that. The expression of giving "110%" would imply that the standard for "all" is a bar set so that everyone can achieve it and thus the person giving the "110%" was superior to all of the rest because (s)he was able to give more. Granted we are not all born with the same abilities. I will never be an Evangelist like Billy Graham, or an Apologist like Lee Strobel. In college i took Finite Math. At the beginning of the semester the instructor told us that he grades on a curve because it is rare for anyone to score higher than the upper 60's and he felt that it would be unfair to fail the entire class because they could not score high enough on his tests. Well, when the first test came back there were two in the class who score in the upper 90's while the rest of the class was in the Intrsuctor's anticipated range. When it happened again with the second test i thought the class was going to Lynch me and the other guy. Fortunately the Instructor saw this and informed us that he would exempt our two scores from the over all curve. Having said that i will still never be a mathematician like Albert Einstein. Our best is our best, and my 100% is not your 100% and vice versa. Today i am "suffering" with the fact that i am not perfect. I want to be perceived in certain ways. I have been known to 'exagerate' (i.e. lie) personal accomplishments in order to be better thought of by others. I like being thought of as the 'hero' in my home. The 'go to' guy in all things. I like the fact that others come to ask me things at work (i still think it ironic that i am asked to proof read things... especially since i never passed an English class past the first half of the 10th grade). But here's the kicker... when i fail to live up to some perceived standard (more often than not - my own) i get irritated, and too often it spills out on those around me. Such is the sin of pride. If you take such a train of thought out to its logical conclusion... isn't that what got Satan and his followers tossed down from Heaven? But the truth is we are to run the race as if to win it? (1 Corinthians 9:24) And at the same time realize that because of my own sin i will never achieve the perfect obediance that God requires... it is ONLY by His grace, His substitution that i am redeemed and made perfect it in sight. In the end i do receive the prize because of His initiation on my behalf.