Persistence vs. Perfection
Persistance vs. perfection is the great clarification in the last line of today’s “Jesus Calling” devotional by Sarah Young: “I look for persistence – rather than perfection – in your walk with me.” Does that strike you as strange for the Christian faith? That we really do NOT need to be perfect? So many wrongly view Christianity as an exhausting “list of don’ts.” However, I believe it should be seen as a type of freedom that you can’t get anywhere else.
How to take a real rest
The contemporary translation in the Message Bible reveals Jesus’ own words from the classic scripture on this, Matthew 11:28-30:
28 “Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest.
29 Walk with me and work with me – watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you.
30 Keep company with me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly.”
Do you see how Jesus is talking about persistance vs. perfection? For example, “Walk with me and work with me.” “Learn the unforced rhythm,” “keep company with me,” and “watch how I do it.” Then he says, “we’ll take a real rest” and “live freely and lightly.”
Our relationship with him
Perhaps the biggest key to the Christian faith is not this perceived list of don’ts, but this relationship. Sarah Young constantly reinforces this relationship in Jesus Calling, too. That’s one of the reasons it’s our mission’s most popular daily devotional and the one we donate to our members. One more thing: notice how this contemporary translation also specifies an “unforced rhythm of grace.” Doesn’t “unforced” sound easy? It can become a very comfortable habit we don’t even have to think about anymore. So, if our focus is on him – our relationship with him – and we are persistent in that, we’ll experience that freedom.
His way or the hard way
There will always be that loved one, that TV commercial, or maybe a work situation that tempts us to think we don’t have it all or we just don’t measure up. But we don’t have to be perfect and we don’t have to earn our way to heaven. The persistence vs. perfection of our daily relationship with Jesus (sometimes hourly or minute-by-minute) is his instruction for us to make our lives easier. That unforced rhythm is doing life his way. Why would we want to do it the hard way?
Be persistent – “take a real rest” and be FREE!
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