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Monday, August 10, 2015

You're Imperfect But Beautiful to God

Fresh Manna
by Pastor Tim Burt


Do you want to be more like Jesus? That’s good! That’s called the desire to become Christ-like. Do you know you aren’t perfect and fall short in what you know God wants you to be? Congratulations! You are just like every other Christian that will admit it. As Christians, we have pressure from the world to be perfect or they will call us hypocrites. We also sometimes feel pressure (that we probably put on ourselves) to be more Christ-like than we are in relation to God’s holiness. We can feel ashamed and that leads people to fall into the cover-up ditch. What's that? I'll explain!

God desires us to be conformed to the image of His Son. The first thing He did was call you to be a part of His family and that was His plan before the beginning of our world. We see this in Ephesians 1:4-5 (NLT) "Even before He made the world, God loved us and chose us in Christ to be holy and without fault in his eyes. God decided in advance to adopt us into His own family by bringing us to Himself through Jesus Christ. This is what He wanted to do, and it gave him great pleasure."

God wants everyone to be a part of His family but not everyone will make this choice. You made that choice and so you are a part of His family. And now that you are, He wants you to be absolutely blessed. That will happen to the greatest degree as you become conformed to the image of Jesus. He wants that for you. Romans 8:29 reveals this saying, "For those God foreknew He also predestined to be conformed to the likeness of His Son…"

Deep down, we want to be pure and pleasing to God because we know that's His will for us. That desire to be pleasing to God is a part of our spiritual DNA. We all want to be free from committing sin in our life. We learn in struggle that this is the process of transformation. As the Holy Spirit works in you, you will become more and more like Jesus. Maybe not as fast as you would like, but that is because you still have to learn to deal with temptation and the pull of and lusts of your flesh.

Becoming Christ-like in our thinking and behaviors is a battle ground and a place of victories and defeats for every Christian. Over time, we learn to receive the strength and help that God freely offers and as we do, we become more and more like Jesus, a step at a time. But, it can be hard to believe that God would be so patient with you when you sometimes feel like you fall so far short of conforming to the image of Christ.

God is patient. It is His character and where He wants us to draw patience from as we see in 2 Thessalonians 3:5 (NLT) “May the Lord lead your hearts into a full understanding and expression of the love of God and the patient endurance that comes from Christ.”

Not only is He patient, but he has covered up your flaws with His own righteousness so that you can be patient with yourself as you allow God to transform you. In the story of the prodigal son, the son was disgusted with himself. He got prideful, left home, and squandered his life and resources. He felt like a fool. He wanted to go back to his father but didn’t believe he was worthy to come back as a son. He was willing to come back as a servant. His father was so patient and forgiving that when his son returned, the first thing he did was cover him up with the robe that Jesus wanted us to know represented His righteousness. We read about it in Luke 15:20-22 (RSV) "And he arose and came to his father. But while he was yet at a distance, his father saw him and had compassion, and ran and embraced him and kissed him. And the son said to him, `Father, I have sinned against heaven and before you; I am no longer worthy to be called your son.' But the father said to his servants, `Bring quickly the best robe, and put it on him..."

His father covered him up with the BEST robe so he would be seen as his son. God covers us with His robe of righteousness so that we can be covered up in His eyes while transformation happens in our life. He covers us up so we don’t have to be fake and cover ourselves with fake religious behavior in order to spiritually please others. We are flawed but God is working in us. If you put on a fake Christian image, you are hiding behind it and not dealing with the transformation you want to happen. You are because you are living a lie trying to be more than you are to please others. We do that because we feel judged by others and because the world calls Christians hypocrites when they don’t act perfect. We aren't hypocrites when we don't act perfect. We are hypocrites when WE DO act perfect! Forget the acting. We're supposed to be ourselves while trying to be Christ-like. We are also going to have to repent to God and others as we blow it. That is what progresses transformation in our lives. We don’t cover up. We let Jesus cover us up! And we work out our transformation a day at a time from there. Live a lie and you’ll be stalled in what God wants to do in you. Be sincere and transparent and work toward becoming Christ-like and you’ll find real Christianity. You are flawed, but not to Him. To Him you are beautiful!

Isaiah 61:10 “I am overwhelmed with joy in the Lord my God! For he has dressed me with the clothing of salvation and draped me in a robe of righteousness. I am like a bridegroom in his wedding suit or a bride with her jewels.”

In His Love,
Pastor Tim Burt

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