God is Perfect, but He's not a Perfectionist
November 1, 2018
James 1:12: Blessed is the man that endureth temptation: for when he is tried, he shall receive the crown of life, which the Lord hath promised to them that love him.
This verse has captivated me for the last month. What is the crown of life? I don't believe it's just eternal life, because we all receive that when Christ dwells within us by His Spirit (1 John 5:12). It's called a crown, and crowns are given to kings as a sign of an authority that has been given to them.
Life. What is the life that He is talking about here? I know the life of repeated failure. God's grace and mercy and love are there, but one’s faith, hope, and confidence are continually being torn down by the continual defeat to the sin that so easily takes us down. There's a never-ending circle there that the enemy wants to keep us in. God is habitually dishonored and the enemy mocks us when we try to walk. It's a sad place of tears and shadows. God never intends for any of His children to remain there.
The overcoming life is quite different. Ye are strong . . . and have overcome the wicked one, the apostle tells the young men (1 John 2:14). The one who overcomes is promised hidden manna and a new identity (Revelation 2:17). There is an inner vitality, confidence, strength, a continual life-giving provision, and a new identity that no man can take away that is worn by those who have overcome—those who, by the grace of God, can stand through temptations.
Temptations are messy. War is messy and dirty. We often feel messy and unclean during a prolonged period of temptation and fighting. This can be discouraging if we are walking by our feelings rather than by faith, especially if you're a perfectionist. Be encouraged. God is perfect, but He's not a perfectionist. He's our Father and He's blessed by every effort He sees on our part to overcome and to be like Him. By faith you are complete in Christ, and by faith you will overcome the world.
The Bible tells us to consider it a joy when we are being tempted, because it produces faith and patience, which will in turn make us completely mature spiritually (James 1:2–4). Think of it! It's through our temptations that we become perfect and entire, not lacking in any area! No, temptation will never make us feel good, but God never intended for us to cringe and cower at the thought of it. Instead, God wants to give us an overcomer's testimony and a crown that is of much more value than any earthly kingdom or presidency.
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