Do you ever think about doing something new but never go through with it? I do. I’ll look at a new knitting project and get started, but when I hit something unfamiliar, I often stop and put the project aside. I currently have 3 knitting projects that are almost done, but I keep hesitating because the next step is either new territory or unsure ground. I’m afraid I won’t do it right or that it won’t look perfect. I want it perfect the first time. I don’t want to risk making a mistake, which is silly because the only way to learn is by making mistakes, and in the end nothing is ever “perfect” as the world understands the word.

People have a warped understanding of what the word perfect means. The world considers perfect to mean without flaws, like a super model gracing the cover of a magazine. However, that super model is not perfect. Most covers have been photo shopped or airbrushed to make it look “perfect.” That is not what Paul means when he says,

“Whom we preach, warning every man, and teaching every man in all wisdom; that we may present every man perfect in Christ Jesus” (Colossians 1:28).

In this scripture, the first mistake people make is assuming Paul means the worldly definition of perfect. The word perfect actually is defined as complete or mature, not without fault. As long as we live in earthly bodies we will never be perfect in that sense because we live in a fallen world; however, we can be complete. The second part to notice is it says perfect “in Christ Jesus.” We are only complete when we are in Christ Jesus because He is what makes us complete. It is His work in us that completes or perfects us and not anything we do ourselves. So, stop trying to be perfect in the world’s eyes and focus on Christ. Once you accept Christ, perfection is a done deal. All you have to do is let him do His work in you.

With that in mind, I have 3 knitting projects I am moving forward on so that they will be complete. Once they are done, they will then be perfect even if they aren’t perfect. Don’t let fear of failure or mistakes keep you from moving forward and stepping out into the unknown. You may not be flawless, no one ever is, but you can be complete and enjoy the freedom to explore the new avenues that God will open up once you let go of the fear of failure and allow yourself to make mistakes. It isn’t the end of the world; it’s just the beginning of something new.

Life is a Battle

In Oswald Chambers’ book My Utmost for His Highest for December 4th, he states the following:

“To him that overcometh…” (Rev. 2:7) – Life without war is impossible, either in nature or in grace. The basis of physical, mental, moral, and spiritual life is antagonism.”

The goal is to overcome anything that is not of God. We have to do battle on every front, sometimes all at the same time.

Whenever we enter a battle of some sort, we think there must be something wrong, like it is against nature. The truth is that battle or antagonism is the nature of life in this world. We are at war with our sinful nature and a fallen world. Just as we battle against disease in our bodies from the day we are born, we also battle against diseases of the mind, the morals, and the spirit.

The key is to know that the battle is not ours. It is God’s. Jesus Christ has already overcome the world. We only have to let the Holy Spirit do the work within us. It’s not easy, but nothing worth winning is easy. This is why Ephesians 6 tells us to put on the Armor of God every day.

“13 Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. 14 Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, 15 and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. 16 In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. 17 Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.” (Ephesians 6:13-17)

First, it is a daily battle, so we must prepare every day. Second, we are not without protection. We have a full suit of armor at the ready. We just have to put it on and stand firm and allow God to fight our battles for us. Begin each day preparing for whatever the day may bring by putting on his armor and knowing that God has already overcome and won the war.

Then Came the Storm

The Gospel of Mark tells the story of Jesus and His disciples out on a boat in the Sea of Galilee (Mark 4:35-39). Then came a storm. These seasoned fishermen were afraid, so it must have been more than just a little rain and waves. Jesus had fallen asleep, so they woke him up. He said, “Silence! Be still.” Then there was a great calm.

The first thing to note about the event is that it was Jesus idea to go out in the boat, and he invited the disciples along. Jesus, being the Son of God, knew what was about to happen when he invited them, so it wasn’t a surprise to him.

The next thing to note is that being with Jesus did not exempt the disciples from going through the storm, nor did being obedient to his command keep them out of danger. The storm came anyway.

Finally, when Jesus spoke, there was a great calm. He was in control of the storm all along, but he allowed it to follow its course until he was awakened by the disciples.

When God calls us to do something and we are obedient, it doesn’t exempt us from running into storms. To the contrary, quite often God calls into a storm on purpose. Sometimes it is a test of our faith, and sometimes it is because he wants to use us to help others who are also in the storm.  Storms are a common occurrence in the world; they are not something we can always avoid, despite the advances in storm detection. They come to us all.

The thing to know about storms is that one of two things will happen to the child of God: He will take you through the storm to the other side, or He will disperse the storm with His almighty power. Either way, there will be a great calm because He will be with us. There will be peace in His Presence, no matter what the circumstances or the outcomes. Storms will come, but God is in control, so there is no need to fear. We just need to keep our eyes focused on Him and rest in His calming Presence.