As a younger Christian, I often succumbed to the legalistic belief that God wanted perfection of behavior from me, with the result being that I would beat myself up mentally and emotionally and feel guilty when I failed to maintain perfect behavior.  But it is not perfection of behavior that God is looking for in us.  So, if we sometimes fail, it is not the end of the world.  God knows that we will fail from time to time because we are not yet perfected until we see our Lord, either after our own death or when He comes again in glory.  So while we walk this earth, we will always have this “treasure in earthen vessels.”  The treasure this verse refers to is God’s Holy Spirit within us, and the earthen vessel (or clay pot) is the frail flesh that houses our spirit and is prone to error.  God could have perfected our bodies at the moment of salvation if He had wanted to so that we would not be prone to error, but He left us in this state in order that “that the excellence of the power may be of God and not of us.”  In other words, our weakness keeps us relying on Him, and all the glory goes to Him.  This is as it should be because there is nothing good in us that God did not put there, and He continues to work on us because He loves us with a tremendous love that we will never be able to fully comprehend.

So, God knows we are weak and He knows that we will fail.  The main things that He is looking for in us are obedience (1 Sam. 15:22), humility (Philippians 2:5-8), loving service of others (Mark 10:42-45), love of Him (Deut. 6:5) as we spend daily time with Him in prayer and meditation on His word, and putting to death all the sins of our flesh as God convicts us, pointing out the errors in us, teaching us the right way, and building His Power within us to fight these things (Colossians 3:5).  We are all different, so some may struggle in areas which are no challenge to others, while we may be challenged or tried in areas that others handle easily. Moreover, some days, you may find that these things are harder to accomplish than other days.  But the continual battle to be more like Him in all our ways and thoughts will be a lifelong battle.  The spirit within us and the flesh housing our soul will always be at war with each other for the duration of our life.  The one that wins each day will be the one that we feed.  If we feed our flesh, feed our appetites and indulge our selfishness and pride, for example, then the flesh will win out.  If we feed our spirit by Bible reading and meditation on His Scripture, by prayer, by fellowshipping with fellow believers, fighting against sinful thoughts and actions, then, over time, our spirit will win out over the flesh, bit by bit as God builds up His Spirit in us (sanctification).

So we should not fret unnecessarily when we fail.  God’s work continues on and is much, much larger than any one of us.  In fact, God’s plans for each individual human, and His plans for humanity which have continued from the beginning of time, are so large and complicated that is difficult for us to even begin to grasp. We are usually not aware of His plans or His intervention for all of humanity until something big and unexplainable happens that is too strange to attribute to anything but God.  One of the great events in history that has always baffled historians that believe in the “great people” theory of historical causation is the disintegration of Napoleon’s army once he reached Moscow in what would have been his greatest military triumph.  I, like Leo Tolstoy, am skeptical of the idea that great men and women drive history.  They are more likely just riding the waves of forces or movements that have already been put into play, and these forces are, in turn, driven by the Will of God as He directs human history to His desired ends. If Napoleon had been such a great man, able to shape history itself, he would have been able to control his army, he would have foreseen the difficulties in managing an army in an urban terrain, etc., and he would have developed contingencies or control measures to keep his forces under control.  But like many men and women who rise to greatness, he started believing in himself, believing in the force of his personality, thinking that somehow his mere presence caused things to happen (only God has such power that things simply happen because of His presence).  And he found out during his colossal failure as a military leader just how ordinary he really was.

I pray today that you will not be bothered by guilt in your failures but rather that you would take all your concerns to Him and ask for His help to become what you desire to be and what He desires for you to be. 

What is or has been your greatest struggle in trying to live right or trying to become like Him and  How have you handled this struggle?  I would love to hear your stories of God's work in your life.

 


Comments

03/23/2017 8:19am

Great post. I was checking continuously this blog. Spending time with them surely helps to release our stress and feel like a new human. Every thing is based on his decision and its always good for us.I pray today that you will not be bothered by guilt in your failures but rather that you would take all your concerns to Him and ask for His help to become what you desire to be and what He desires for you to be

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    I'm a retired soldier, having spent 23 years of my life serving our country, actually 30 years when you count the reserve and National Guard time as well.  I believe in servant leaders, following the example of our Lord, and I believe in giving back to the troops once one has attained a certain status or level of success in life.  But I also believe in fighting back against corruption and incompetence wherever you find it if it hurts people.  Our national values were worth dying for.  They are also worth living for.  A man or woman can actually live a life by these principles of humility, service, love, duty, and honor, and have a significant impact on the world around them...if you have the dedication to see it through. 

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