Oh, the pain of finding the perfect quote when it is too late!
My husband sent me this quote after my last blog post.
‘We need not despair even in our worst, for our failures are forgiven. The only fatal thing is to sit down content with anything less than perfection.’ CS Lewis
As usual, CS Lewis says it better than I ever could.
This is the tension of the normal Christian life. It is a life of perfecting, but not perfectionism; resting, but never passive; grateful, but still hungry.
You see when the New Testament uses the word ‘perfect’ it comes from a Greek word, ‘teleios’, that means mature, complete, whole or mature.
There is a work that Jesus has started in my life. His desire is to finish it and my job is to let Him.
This is so important to understand. We cannot afford to get this twisted.
The normal Christain life is a life where I am to let go of trying to be good enough but to instead put all my effort into being available, open, and teachable to God’s perfecting work in me.
Legalism has no place in this kind of Christianity, but neither does lackadaisical Jesus-following. The only appropriate response to God’s graceful gift is to be willing clay in the Potter’s hands. The cross of Christ means I can make peace with my past mistakes and failures, but I must never make peace with an incomplete work of sanctification and restoration in my life.
This is the full gospel.
I love the verses in Luke where Jesus announces why He has come.
“The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, and he has anointed me to be hope for the poor, freedom for the brokenhearted, and new eyes for the blind, and to preach to prisoners, ‘You are set free!’ I have come to share the message of Jubilee, for the time of God’s great acceptance has begun.” (Luke 4.18, the Passion Translation)
Is there anything more beautiful, more hopeful, to know that we live within the time of God’s great acceptance? This friendship with God that we experience as Christians is beyond comprehension.
But look closer, there is more. God’s saving work in our lives also includes freedom, healing and wholeness. God’s desire is to save but also to restore.
Let’s never be content with less than Jesus came for.
In this time of Advent, let’s invite God’s work of Jubilee right into the centre of our lives. As we remember the birth of Jesus, let’s also sit at the feet of the risen, victorious Jesus. Let’s dare to bring Him what is fractured, damaged or bound and expect His life-giving, restorative work, wherever we have need of it.
Let’s celebrate Christmas this year thankful for God’s gift of salvation but also hungry to know all the fullness of that salvation in our hearts and lives.