“Everything under heaven belongs to me.” Job 41:11
Dr. James Dobson shares the story of when he was a four-year-old boy, his grandmother gave him a one-dollar bill.
I would like to take a few moments to share with you about your Father’s heart toward you. Yes, I am referring to your Heavenly Father.
“For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.” – John 3:16
That’s a lot of love. God loves us so much. The sins of this world have lead us to places we should not be going, doing things we should not be doing, and encouraging us to say things we should not be saying. But God’s love is so great that no matter what the sin, He sent His son to die for us so that we can be forgiven and made whole. Someone had to pay the price; blood had to be given as a sacrifice. God sent Jesus, the only sinless one, to be the payment for our sins. He did this by giving His life as a ransom for our sins.
We have seen great fathers in this world. The story of Dick Hoyt, the father who pushed, pulled, and carried his son, Rick through a triathlon is a great example. He swam 2.5 miles, cycled 125 miles through hot lava fields, and concluded by running 26.2 miles with his son. You see, he loved his handicapped son so much. His son’s dream was to be in this contest. The father’s heart was to meet that need for and with his son. No, they were not in first place or even second place, but they did finish just under the deadline. The father ran the race with the son.
Our Heavenly Father is running the race with us. We are all in a race. If we have asked Jesus, God’s Son, into our hearts and to forgive us our sins, then we are pressing on to win the prize.
“I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 3:14
God’s heart is so big for us. His love is so awesome. He wants only what is best for us. Our Father in heaven has a very big heart for us. He cares, wants us to be healed, cleansed from our sins, in right relationship with Him and others around us, and on our way to heaven. He has a wonderful place for us to go.
Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is Christ the Lord. —Luke 2:11
When Pope Julius I declared December 25 to be celebrated as the birthday of Jesus in A.D. 353, who would have ever thought that it would become what it is today? And when Professor Charles Follen lit candles on the first Christmas tree in American in 1832, who would have ever thought that decorations would become as glamorous as they are today?
Even before these two events that shaped what Christmas means today for most, there was a bright, special star that lit the dark night thousands of years ago letting the world know that Jesus the King was born. Usually, we don’t celebrate historical figures as children, but in the case of Christ, it is appropriate.
When Christ was born, shepherds came to honor Him, wise men from the East brought Him gifts, and the earth rejoiced at His birth. These people who came to worship Him had no idea what Christ would accomplish as an adult. But they were right in traveling to worship the King because His birth was the most remarkable event in human history. Wise men and women today worship not only the Child of Bethlehem, but the Christ of Calvary.
As we approach the Christmas season again, we are faced with yet another opportunity to pause in the midst of all the excitement, decorations, and commercialization, to consider again the origin of Christmas–the One whose birth we celebrate. Let’s not forget the true meaning of why we celebrate during this time of year. Celebrate the baby Jesus and trust Him as Savior today.
PRAYER CHALLENGE: Thank God for sending His Son that glorious night to be born of a virgin, live a perfect life, die on the cross for your sins, and rise from the dead three days later to give you eternal life through Him. Ask Christ into your heart today! (Contact me if you need help praying.)
Jesus was not commanding His people to be perfectionists. One day Christ will make us perfect; during our time on earth, we should be striving for Christlikeness, always realizing that we have much room to grow.
Perfectionism is a disposition to feel that anything less than perfect is unacceptable. It is rooted in the need for control and affirmation.
Perfectionistic people think they should know everything and so beat themselves up for mistakes. They think they should be totally powerful and they become upset when things are out of their control. They believe they should accomplish the work of ten people in a given day and they become depressed and discouraged over what “little” they can accomplish.
Perfectionistic people are idealistic in that they frequently think about how things “should” be, not how they really are. They are always setting impossibly high goals, which lead to discouragement, failure, and ultimately quitting. They are afraid of failure, equating failure to achieve their goals with a lack of personal worth. They are tied up in the “shoulds”of life and require rigid rules. With such an overemphasis on contentment, happiness, and a sense of accomplishment are not permissible until their current project or activity has been completed. The “process” is overlooked because the end result has not been reached, thus there is no “joy in the journey.”
Perfectionistic people feel that they have to be the best at what they do. To simply do one’s best is not good enough. They believe their worth is determined by their performance. Since day-to-day performance in various areas of life fluctuates, a perfectionist’s sense of worth fluctuates as well.
Type A people are usually very strict and rigid and are often called perfectionists. They have a certain way for things to be done, and flexibility is not an option. They need to be on time and have problems with people who are more relaxed with time. They are often described as workaholics and are driven. They were probably given conditional love at some time in their lives; that is, only if a standard was met were they rewarded and accepted. They are more likely to suffer heart attacks at an earlier age than other personality types.
Type B people are usually more laid back, more carefree with their time. They are not so rigid and are considered more flexible in their relationships. They tend to cope with daily stress in a more positive way than Type A people.
Many references in the Bible use the word perfect; for example, “Therefore you shall be perfect, just as your Father in heaven is perfect”(Matt. 5: 48). You need to understand that perfection is not something God demands from you. God knows you cannot do it or He would not have had to send His Son.
As Christians, we need to be more concerned with our relationship with God—allowing Him to make us perfect—than with being perfectionists. A perfect heart will do more to insure a life of healthy relationships and a good self-worth than any perfectionist’s rigid schedule or ways will.
1. Determine Your Personality
Do some self-exploration by taking a personality inventory, such as the Myers-Briggs or other similar test that is available online. This is a great way to discover what makes you tick. Seeing yourself on paper and realizing that you have personality tendencies that are similar to those of others can be part of your life journey in discovering the you God made.
2. Change Is Not the Issue
You do not need to change as much as begin to understand your God-given na-ture and how to use it when appropriate and rein it in when not appropriate.
3. Learn Flexibility and Acceptance
Realizing, for example, that “I am more rigid with my time and you are more flexible,” is okay and doesn’t mean that I am better than you.
Ask, “What’s the worst that can happen?” The answer probably isn’t worth losing sleep over.
God’s love is unconditional. You don’t have to earn His love by being a perfec-tionist or by setting unrealistic standards for yourself or others.
God sets no conditions that we have to meet to be His children. We, in turn, need to be unconditional in how we accept and love others.
4. Laugh a Little
Don’t be so judgmental of yourself and others. Find humor in who you are.
Laugh at yourself when you do something foolish or funny. Be prepared to laugh with others who are laughing with/ at you.
5. Be Realistic
* You’re not going to be God, so stop trying.
* Look at life as it is, not as you think it should be.
* Meet people halfway.
* Don’t expect the impossible—of yourself or others. Set attainable goals and reasonable time limits.
* In your life, determine when perfectionism is appropriate and when it is not. Learn to accept “good enough” on certain tasks.
* Realize that many positive things can be learned from making mistakes.
6. Be Perfect in Heart
Concentrate on having a perfect heart with God. This will release you to a less stressful life. You’ll live for God and not for your perfectionist tendencies.
Being perfect in heart (not being a perfectionist) and having one will with the Father enables you to overcome perfectionist tendencies that disconnect you from your loved ones, and inhibit your relationships in general.
WRAPPING IT UP
For by one offering He has perfected forever those who are being sanctified. Hebrews 10: 14
Believers have been made perfect in God’s eyes because of the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. At the same time, however, we are “being sanctified,” being made perfect and holy progressively through our walk with Him.
We are considered perfect, even though we have a long way to go. As we let God work in us, He perfects us.
Instead of measuring perfection by worldly standards, we should seek to obey God, looking forward to the day when He will finally make us perfect for life with Him in our perfect eternal home.
Years ago an anonymous writer penned a short poem about the merits of measuring our words.
A wise old owl sat in an oak;
The more he saw the less he spoke;
The less he spoke the more he heard;
Why can’t we all be like that wise old bird?
There is a connection between wisdom and limiting what we say. Proverbs 10:19 says, “In the multitude of words sin is not lacking, but he who restrains his lips is wise.”
We are wise to be careful about what we say or how much we say in certain situations. It makes sense to guard our words when we are angry. James urged his fellow believers, “Be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath” (James 1:19). Restraining our words can also show reverence for God. Solomon said, “God is in heaven, and you on earth; therefore let your words be few” (Eccl. 5:2). When others are grieving, our silent presence may help more than abundant expressions of sympathy: “No one spoke a word to him, for they saw that his grief was very great” (Job 2:13).
Although there is a time to be quiet and a time to speak (Eccl. 3:7), choosing to speak less allows us to hear more.
Let your speech be better than silence; otherwise be silent.
The Lord . . . will deliver me. —1 Samuel 17:37
The towering enemy strides into the Valley of Elah. He stands 9 feet tall, and his coat of armor, made of many small bronze plates, glimmers in the sunlight. The shaft of his spear is wrapped with cords so it can spin through the air and be thrown with greater distance and accuracy. Goliath looks invincible.
But David knows better. While Goliath may look like a giant and act like a giant, in contrast to the living God he is small. David has a right view of God and therefore a right view of the circumstances. He sees Goliath as one who is defying the armies of the living God (1 Sam. 17:26). He confidently appears before Goliath in his shepherd’s clothes, armed with only his staff, five stones, and a sling. His confidence is not in what he has but in who is with him (v.45).
What “Goliath” are you facing right now?
It may be an impossible situation at work, a financial difficulty, or a broken relationship. With God all things are small in comparison. Nothing is too big for Him. The words of the hymnwriter Charles Wesley remind us: “Faith, mighty faith, the promise sees, and looks to that alone; laughs at impossibilities, and cries it shall be done.” God is able to deliver you if that’s His desire, and He may do so in ways you don’t expect.
Don’t tell God how big your giants are. Tell your giants how big your God is!
In his book Be All You Can Be, John Maxwell shares the formula for fruitfulness taught by Jesus.
Jesus gives us a three-word formula for fruitfulness in John 15. These three words are the ones I want you to remember, because they are the key to fruitful living.
1. REMAIN – The first word is remain. Throughout John 15 Jesus tells us to remain. In fact, the word abide in the original language can be translated “remain.” “Remain in Me,” Jesus says. He’s talking about our willingness to take time with Him in prayer and in study of the Word. We need to let Him begin to be part of our lives and work on our lives.
2. RECEIVE – The second word in the formula is receive. Jesus says in John 15 that if we remain in Him, we will begin to receive certain things. What we’ll receive is good, fruitful living.
3. REPRODUCE – The third word is reproduce. If we remain in Him, we’re going to receive what He has for us, then and only then will we begin to reproduce in our lives.
Spend some time reading John chapter 15 from God’s Word, and then I encourage you to apply these principles to you life. Decide today you are going to be fruitful!