None of us have reached perfection and we won’t as long as we inhabit these tents of flesh. Therefore, we need the prayers of our Christian brothers and sisters just as they need us to pray for them. We need Spiritual and physical strength to carry on God’s Kingdom work here on earth. “The harvest is great, but the workers are few” so we need to pray and ask God to send laborers into the fields.(Matt 9:37,38 paraphrased). We need to ask God to guard our thoughts because the mind is the spiritual battlefield where our personal battles are won or lost. The Lord is faithful. He has promised that we will not be tempted above our ability to resist and that He will always provide a way out for us. We don’t always find the way out because the flesh gets great pleasure from wallowing in its old sinful ways. We need to pray for each other that we will continue to do the things that God has commanded us to do. When we practice doing the right things, we receive more understanding and patience which allows us to better show sinners the greatness of God’s love toward us and them.
“The Gospel has come to you because it’s on its way to someone else.” -Anonymous
22 “People of Israel, listen! God publicly endorsed Jesus the Nazarene by doing powerful miracles, wonders, and signs through him, as you well know.23 But God knew what would happen, and his prearranged plan was carried out when Jesus was betrayed. With the help of lawless Gentiles, you nailed him to a cross and killed him.24 But God released him from the horrors of death and raised him back to life, for death could not keep him in its grip. — Acts 2:22-24 NLT Acts 2:25-41
Our story never changes. It is the old, old story that is new every morning. It is our anthem, our song, our strength and our hope. Jesus voluntarily gave up HIs glory in heaven temporarily. He was born into the world, He was fully man and fully God. He went about doing good and God performed miracles, wonders and signs through Him. Not everyone believed the story then and not everyone believes the story now. But God, knowing what would happen, already had a plan in place. Jesus came to this earth to redeem a fallen people from their sins and nothing, no one, nor any force of any kind would prevent that from happening. Over and over, the religious leaders conspired to kill Jesus before His time and in a manner that would not be sufficient for redemption. God would not allow it. Jesus was the perfect man, God had the perfect plan and now we are redeemed. Just as God had a plan for Jesus, He has a plan for each of us to participate in the redemption story. We are not perfect, God already knows that, so when we fail, He understands. But His plan for each of us takes our weaknesses and failures into account. He is never surprised by our failures and He never gives up on us. We are chosen, we are called and we will succeed in the plan Jesus has for each of us. So, when satan, the father of lies, comes to shame us with all of our failures, we just need to tell him to take it up with Jesus, stand up. let God clean us up and press on. The battle is not ours, it’s the Lord’s and He won the war years ago at the cross. We may suffer losses and temporary setbacks, but we cannot be defeated. Romans 8:38
5 He who was seated on the throne said, “I am making everything new!” — Revelation 21:5 NIV
In the beginning, God created everything exactly as it should be.
31 God saw all that he had made, and it was very good. And there was evening, and there was morning—the sixth day. — Genesis 1:31 NIV
Then sin came into the world and the pefect creation and creatures begin to grow old and decay. It wasn’t what God wanted, but there is a price to be paid when we sin. Since then, humans have been born in sin into a sinful world . The evil and the decay continue and get worse every day. God had a plan in place to redeem the world, so He sent His son to die on a cross. But, sin was and still is, in the world. So things continue to grow old and will continue to do so until Jesus comes back again. Even nature groans to be renewed while we wait for His return. One day that will happen and we will see a new heaven and a new earth. Our salvation will be complete and we will have new, glorified bodies that will last forever. No matter what the day or the date is, one day, it will happen and we will have had our last Happy New Year. That day when everything is made new could be called “Glorious, Joyful Eternity” and that is my hope and my prayer. My new year’s resolution is to practice spending more time with Jesus now because I believe it is possible to have a little bit of heaven here on earth.
I believe that is what Jesus meant when He taught us to pray “thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven.”
5 Examine yourselves to see whether you are in the faith; test yourselves. Do you not realize that Christ Jesus is in you—unless, of course, you fail the test? 6 And I trust that you will discover that we have not failed the test. 7 Now we pray to God that you will not do anything wrong—not so that people will see that we have stood the test but so that you will do what is right even though we may seem to have failed. 8 For we cannot do anything against the truth, but only for the truth. 9 We are glad whenever we are weak but you are strong; and our prayer is that you may be fully restored. – 2 Cor. 13:5-9
Each of us needs to make it a habit to go back over our actions of today to see if we have added any new sins. This is not for condemnation, it is for confession and forgiveness. Every day, we are tempted and tested. Since we are humans with fleshly desires, it is impossible for us to make it through a day without an impure or unkind thought of some kind. satan makes sure that we have plenty of opportunities. Since we have Christ Jesus dwelling in us, it is not possible for us to fail the test, but we will miss a few answers on the test. Those missed answers remind us that we are not and never will be perfect. But God has already taken care of those wrong answers by covering them with the blood of Jesus. When we see and confess the errors, they are immediately redacted from our record. God doesn’t keep score, the sins are all wiped away. All He sees is the righteousness of Jesus Christ. We are weak and helpless but God is waiting to strengthen and restore us. Whatever happens, the end result is to glorify God. His grace is sufficient, His power is perfect.
9 But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. 10 That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong. — 2 Cor. 12:9, 10
As long as we remain in these tents of flesh, we will fail some of the time. But because all things are possible through and in Christ, we are not failures. We are conquerors and overcomers because His blood and His power perfect and protect us.
But in all these things we overwhelmingly conquer through Him who loved us.
— Romans 8:37
22 “I have given them the glory you gave me, so they may be one as we are one. 23 I am in them and you are in me. May they experience such perfect unity that the world will know that you sent me and that you love them as much as you love me. 24 Father, I want these whom you have given me to be with me where I am. Then they can see all the glory you gave me because you loved me even before the world began! 25 “O righteous Father, the world doesn’t know you, but I do; and these disciples know you sent me. 26 I have revealed you to them, and I will continue to do so. Then your love for me will be in them, and I will be in them.”—John 17:22-26 (NLT)
Jesus is our example of perfection. Perfect in His lifestyle because He was tempted but never sinned. Perfect in His love for us even unto death on the cross. Perfect in His unity with the Father and the Spirit. God, for whom and through whom everything was made, chose to bring many children into glory. And it was only right that he should make Jesus, through his suffering, a perfect leader, fit to bring them into their salvation.-Hebrews 2:10
When we talk about perfection, we are really talking about maturing spiritually. Jesus was, is and always will be the only perfect person. When God talks about perfection, He is looking at us through the perfect blood of Jesus. 20 Now the God of peace, that brought again from the dead our Lord Jesus, that great shepherd of the sheep, through the blood of the everlasting covenant, 21 Make you perfect in every good work to do his will, working in you that which is well pleasing in his sight, through Jesus Christ; to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen.–Hebrews 13:20,21 (KJV)
Again, we see that “we” can’t do it, “we” can’t save ourselves, “we” can’t sanctify ourselves. “we” can’t make ourselves holy and “we” can’t perfect ourselves.. But with one act of perfect sacrifice, Jesus did all that for us. 14 With one sacrifice Christ made his people perfect forever. They are the ones who are being made holy.–Hebrews 10:14 (ERV)
God in us is perfecting us daily, so that we will be prepared for the glory that is heaven.
13 So prepare your minds for action and exercise self-control. Put all your hope in the gracious salvation that will come to you when Jesus Christ is revealed to the world.14 So you must live as God’s obedient children. Don’t slip back into your old ways of living to satisfy your own desires. You didn’t know any better then. 15 But now you must be holy in everything you do, just as God who chose you is holy. 16 For the Scriptures say, “You must be holy because I am holy.”–1 Peter 1:13-16 (NLT)
When we accept Jesus as our Savior, we become a new Creation. Before that change, we were controlled by fleshly lusts. We did what “self” wanted to do without exercising self-control. Now that we are a new creation, we walk in the Spirit and do those things that are in obedience to Christ. Are we now perfect? No! But we are striving toward that mark. Will we fall short? Yes, but the blood of Jesus has covered those sins. Now that we know the right things to do, we must pursue them and not go back to our old ways. Our lifestyle should reflect our new destination. People who have known us should be able to see a difference in the way we walk and talk. The things that used to occupy the highest priorities in our lives should be further down the list. There are some things we should want to give up immediately and others need to be moved way down our list of priorities. We need to take an inventory and honestly find out where Jesus is on our list of priorities. Jesus is not in a contest with other “gods”. He will accept nothing less than the top shelf, He is either “Lord of all” or He is not “Lord at all” in our lives.
18 Now someone may argue, “Some people have faith; others have good deeds.” But I say, “How can you show me your faith if you don’t have good deeds? I will show you my faith by my good deeds.” 19 You say you have faith, for you believe that there is one God. Good for you! Even the demons believe this, and they tremble in terror. 20 How foolish! Can’t you see that faith without good deeds is useless? 21 Don’t you remember that our ancestor Abraham was shown to be right with God by his actions when he offered his son Isaac on the altar? 22 You see, his faith and his actions worked together. His actions made his faith complete.–James 2:18-22 (NLT)
Let’s be sure to always remember that salvation is a free gift from God. There are no “good deeds” that will save you. It is not that we believe there is one God that saves us. Every religion has their own god, but none of them have Jesus Christ or any one else that gave their life for their redemption. James is saying that faith alone might be enough to scare a person or a demon(demons tremble) but it won’t save you. Abraham lived a long time before Jesus died and was resurrected, so he didn’t have the choice we have today. Therefore, God in His great mercy counted his actions as righteous. Abraham and the others from the Old Testament did not receive everything God had planned for them at that time. Their total salvation and perfection had to wait until Jesus was resurrected and we all join Him in heaven and we will receive our rewards at the same time. There, we will be totally saved and we will worship Jesus forever. 39 All these people earned a good reputation because of their faith, yet none of them received all that God had promised. 40 For God had something better in mind for us, so that they would not reach perfection without us.–Hebrews 11:39,40 (NLT)
8 But we know that the law is good if one uses it lawfully, 9 knowing this: that the law is not made for a righteous person, but for the lawless and insubordinate, for the ungodly and for sinners, for the unholy and profane, for murderers of fathers and murderers of mothers, for manslayers, 10 for fornicators, for sodomites, for kidnappers, for liars, for perjurers, and if there is any other thing that is contrary to sound doctrine, 11 according to the glorious gospel of the blessed God which was committed to my trust.–1 Timothy 1:8-11 (NLT)
The law was given as a teacher to show us that we could not become righteous through the observance of the law. Total forgiveness required perfection in every point of the law. That was and is impossible for humans. Sin required a perfect sacrifice Who would shed His blood for our sins. God had the perfect plan and the perfect Man, Jesus. On the Cross, He took on our sins and through his shed blood gave us His righteousness. Now, when God looks at us, all He sees is the righteousness of Jesus Christ. Jesus fulfilled the law to perfection and willingly laid down His life for us. To teach anything but Jesus Christ and Him crucified is not sound doctrine. The Gospel of God is simple: Believe on Jesus and receive eternal life. Don’t add anything to God’s simple plan. We are saved by grace though faith. Our good works here on earth are to lay up rewards in heaven, they cannot earn us salvation.
12 I don’t mean to say that I have already achieved these things or that I have already reached perfection. But I press on to possess that perfection for which Christ Jesus first possessed me. 13 No, dear brothers and sisters, I have not achieved it, but I focus on this one thing: Forgetting the past and looking forward to what lies ahead, 14 I press on to reach the end of the race and receive the heavenly prize for which God, through Christ Jesus, is calling us. 15 Let all who are spiritually mature agree on these things. If you disagree on some point, I believe God will make it plain to you. 16 But we must hold on to the progress we have already made.–Phil. 3:12-16 (NLT)
None of us will achieve perfection while we are clothed in this tent of flesh. However, we can never use that as an excuse for not trying to do better every day. We must keep our eyes and mind focused on Jesus. We must keep pressing onward and upward. Jesus tells us that once we have started the journey with Him, we should never look back (Luke 9:62). Forget the past or satan will use it to beat you up mentally and spiritually every day. God has already forgotten our sinful past (Psalm 103:12). When we grow weary, we should pray and wait upon the Lord, He will give us renewed strength to press on (Isaiah 40:31).
1. And so, dear brothers and sisters, I plead with you to give your bodies to God because of all he has done for you. Let them be a living and holy sacrifice—the kind he will find acceptable. This is truly the way to worship him. 2 Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect.–Romans 12:1,2 (NLT)
We were created in God’s image and then sin entered into the equation. Sin has taken us from what God created us to be into a fallen state. This was no surprise to God, He had a plan in place before the foundations of the world were laid. When we accept Jesus as our Savior and Lord, we become a new creation. It is not an instant change, it is a process that takes the rest of our lives to complete. I am reminded of a kids’ song that says it very well in a way that is easy to remember: He’s still working on me to make me what I really ought to be.
It took Him just a week to make the moon and stars,
The sun and the earth and Jupiter and Mars.
How loving and patient He must be, He’s still working on me.
If you are planning to wait until you are perfect before witnessing to those around you, you will never be of any use to the Kingdom. So when satan shoots his fiery darts at you and tries to discourage you, just sing this chorus to him. It will remind satan (and you) that you are God’s child and he has no authority in your life. God knows we aren’t perfect, but He will bless our persistence.