Imperfection; January 2, 2019

2 John 1:4 It has given me great joy to find some of your children walking in the truth, just as the Father commanded us.

When you think about it, this is a pretty remarkable statement. John has great joy that some people are walking in the truth. We would understand this better if he had said all, but he didn’t do that. What I get from this is that for all the people who burned with faith and went joyfully to martyrdom, there were a lot of people who weren’t that way. We tend to idealize the Early Church, but reading through the various letters in the New Testament, including the letters from Christ to the churches in the first part of Revelation, we find that there was no congregation without problems, and many were more noticeable for their problems than their successes. The point is that God used them anyway, and the true Church, the assembly of disciples of Jesus Christ, grew to the point that it took down the Roman Empire. We have many problems today. Some “mega-churches” seem to be humanistic, materialistic shells, and some “spiritual giants” turn out to be complete charlatans. I could go on and on about the problems, but none of those are greater or more powerful than the Lord we serve. We aren’t to ignore issues, but neither are we to allow those issues to convince us it’s all a lie, as some people have done to their great loss. We need to be like John, rejoicing that even some of the people in the churches are walking in the truth. If we are honest, we will realize that our own lives haven’t been completely pure and faithful. Some of the things we do are truly pleasing to God, but certainly not all. If we focus on our failures, we’ll give up on ourselves! This isn’t at all some sort of “I’m OK you’re OK” sort of thing, but rather, “I’m imperfect and you’re imperfect and we’re all dependent on the grace of God.” We aren’t to excuse failure, either in ourselves or in others, but we are to rejoice in successes, even small ones, and realize that God can even turn major failures around for blessing. (Romans 8:28)

This is an important Word for me to receive at this point. I am very aware of imperfections, and they sometimes grate on me badly – especially my own! I must not focus on those, but rather on my perfect Lord, who allows us occasionally to reflect His goodness even in the middle of our own brokenness. I am not to lose sight of the some that John mentions out of my desire for perfection, for all to be right, both within me and around me. God is perfect but nothing else is, and I need to be at peace with that. I am never to stop striving for perfection, but that striving needs to be with God’s energy and not my own. There’s no way I could even make reasonable progress in my own strength and wisdom! I am not to excuse my failures, but rather repent of them immediately, confessing them to God, and then – and this is vital – receive His forgiveness. He gives it, but I’ve got to receive it. (1 John 1:9)

Father, thank You for this reminder. I am so prone to forget the truth I think I know! Thank You for the communicating Cathy and I could do this morning, when communication has been distorted all too often. Thank You for who is coming to help me today, when I have been frustrated with what he has not done recently. Help me rejoice in what he is doing today, rather than focusing on negatives. I tell people all the time to lift their eyes off of themselves and fix them on Jesus. (Hebrews 12:2) Help me indeed do that myself, so that I won’t be deceiving myself. (James 1:22) Thank You. Praise God!

About jgarrott

Born and raised in Japan of missionary parents. Have been here as an adult missionary since 1981.
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