“For through the law I died to the law, so that I might live to God. I have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I who live, but it is Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.” (Galatians 2:19-21 NRSV)
I have a confession to make. I am a closet perfectionist. I get a great deal of joy doing things exactly the way they were meant to be done. I prefer cleaning the table and doing the dishes right after I have eaten. I feel good when I have a neat desk. I love writing something which is both accurate and delightful. Why? I was raised always to do the best. I think mom and the church might have only said “do the best you can,” but I heard only”be the best.” I needed to be the best at everything.
I used to play ping-pong at the YMCA with three older men. They were content to just hit the ball back and forth, but not me. I had to keep score and I wanted always to win. The odd thing was, I would be so focused I wouldn’t enjoy the game and many times would lose anyway.
I think the Apostle Paul might have been like me a little bit also. In Philippians 3:5-6 Paul lists all his accomplishments before he “saw the light.” His perfectionism at that time could be seen by all the other religious leaders.
But then his eyes were opened to the truth. God is not impressed by perfectionism. In fact, Paul wrote to the Galatians that by trying to be perfect in the observance of the Laws of Moses, he finally realized it was hopelessly impossible. And that truth opened him to the wonderful experience of feeling Christ living within Him. When he finally realized his perfectionism got him nowhere with God, a flood of grace came in. He was reborn without the perfectionism gene.
May it be for you and for me this day and from now on.