Wednesday, 2 October 2013
Found In Him: Scripture for Chapter 3
Are you a perfectionist?
You’re probably thinking, it all depends on what area you’re talking about.
Perfectionism doesn’t always express itself in every area of our lives. One person obsesses about being on time, but leaves dishes piled up in the sink and all over the counters. Another won’t put a bite of non-organic food in her mouth, but watches netflix indiscriminately. I love to put things away, to the chagrin of my husband who gets a glass out for water, leaves the room to get something, and comes back to find the glass in the dishwasher. But I’ll do anything to get out of making phone calls.
No matter what it looks like in your life, one thing is true of perfectionism in all of us. It makes us restless. We have trouble sitting still when something we care about is messed up. We hunger for perfection.
Some people tell us to get over it. “Perfectionism is the voice of the oppressor, the enemy of the people,” quips Anne Lamott in her book about writing, Bird By Bird: Some Instructions on Writing and Life. She’s right. Perfectionism kills creativity. When you want to be creative, you need to put perfect aside. But I believe a hunger for perfection is God-given. It’s a longing for what we lost in Eden. The problem comes when we try to find it in ourselves.
There is only one place to find rest for our restless perfectionism–in the face of the Perfect One.
Chapter 3 of our study, “Our Perfected Savior,” takes up the life of Jesus at age 12 where Luke left off, and follows it through his public ministry. This chapter is about his life, the only human life that was ever lived perfectly. Use the verses below to help focus your imagination on him. Ask the Holy Spirit to bring the truths into 3-D living color as you meditate.
Day 1: Matthew 5:17-20, 48. Why did Jesus come according to Matt 5:17? What is God’s standard according to Matt 5:20, 48? Take a moment to think about your day yesterday (or today if it’s late in the day). When did you fail to love God or others? Now picture Jesus in that moment, obeying perfectly, for you. Rejoice and thank him for earning that specific righteousness so he could give it to you!
Day 2: John 1:14, Matthew 26:41. Jesus “grew from blissful innocence to tested holiness in the crucible of everyday life (p. 63).” What do these two verses tell us about his flesh, and ours? Was there a time recently when your spirit was willing, but your flesh was weak? Remember it now and know that he understands that weakness from the inside, but overcame it for you.
Day 3: Matthew 3:13-17. How far did Jesus travel to be baptized? Picture him walking there, joining the masses of people, waiting his turn, coming to the front of the line, then being stopped by John. Why didn’t Jesus change places with John as John suggested? Picture him being baptized. Hear the Father’s voice, see the Spirit descend. He obeyed that day so the Father’s pleasure and the Spirit’s presence could rest on you.
Day 4: Matthew 4:1-11. As you read this scene, feel the heat, see his sweat, hear the enemy’s tone of voice, taste the dry air, smell the smoke of this battle. Which of the three temptations sounds most difficult to you today? Eating sinfully? Promoting yourself? Idolatry? See him battling each temptation all the way to victory–for you. Receive his triumph by faith today.
Day 5: Hebrews 2:18, 4:15. Why is Jesus able to help us when we are tempted? What two things is he able to do for us as our high priest? Are you struggling with a temptation today? Go to him for sympathy and help. Are you grieving over a sin today? See him offer his blood on the altar, with both understanding and power.
I’d love to hear from you during the week if you feel like dropping by with a comment.
See you Friday with some reflections on this chapter.