Many of the people we know, probably like some of you, grew up in a Christian home, and were familiar with Christian jargon. I however, being raised in an atheist home, barely heard of or thought about God, and didn’t really know who Jesus was. It may surprise you to know that after just a couple of weeks at church, I had this conversation with my (at the time) 7 year old son:
Ryan: “Why do they call him Jesus Christ?”
Me: “That is his name, Jesus is his first name and Christ is his last name.”
Ryan: “Oh, ok.”
I laugh now at the thought of this conversation, but at the time I realized I did not really know anything about being a Christian.
If you have been following along these last couple of days, you already know I struggle with begin a control freak. Another part of that issue is the constant drive to achieve perfection. I am a research nerd by nature. I always did well in school, enjoyed studying and was good at reading the material, memorizing it and mastering that skill. I prided myself on being able to study virtually any subject, learning all I could and then mastering it. So, shortly after making a profession of faith, I set off on my new journey. My plan was to read the Bible from start to finish, learn the material, and then master it; becoming the “perfect Christian.”
I started in Genesis and worked through the law. I was curious why we didn’t still sacrifice animals, and of course, I stopped eating pork. I did not eat pork for almost 4 months until I got to the New Testament and found out that the dietary laws had been lifted. (This explained so much, as I was confused why so many Christians sinned by eating pork! No, I am not kidding.)
You may be thinking this all sounds ridiculous, and as I look back now, it was. But, at the time, I truly wanted to live my life exactly like the law demands. My striving for perfection would soon be replaced with a humbling realization that I cannot fulfill the law’s requirements, which is why Jesus had to come to fulfill the law. We have all sinned and fall short of the glory of God (Romans 3:23). If we could read the Bible, master it and be “perfect Christians” there would be no need for Christ’s sacrifice.
“We have this treasure in earthen vessels (clay pots), that the excellence of the power may be of God and not of us” (2 Corinthians 4:7). As a clay pot, we are full of imperfections, leaving no doubt that it is God at work in us and through us. We need to be reminded often of our poverty and inability to be perfect on our own, apart from Christ. “For by one offering He has perfected forever those who are being sanctified” (Hebrews 10:14)
I hope you have found this week’s posts encouraging. Find your comfort and peace in Christ, and quit striving on our own to achieve that which is given freely to those who are called by His name.