Mary Poppins is "practically perfect in every way." Real people, however, find it difficult to consistently proceed with perfection. We are told to abide by God's teachings, but perfection - for us mere mortals - is not attainable. We want to follow in Christ's footsteps. But let's face it: those are some pretty big shoes to fill. What a relief it is to know that God doesn't expect us to imitate His perfection. He does, however, require us to attempt righteousness. "There is none righteous, no not one... For all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God." Romans 3:10b & 23
Outside her classroom, a teacher hung a sign on the door that said: "Welcome to class, where we strive for progress, not perfection." Our Heavenly Father instructs us to do the same. He knows that we will falter, fall prey to the evil one, and (often inadvertently) commit sin after sin. Just like any parent, however, God wants his children to avoid doing wrong and strive to make good choices. "And as for you, brothers, never tire of doing what is right." 2nd Thessalonians 3:13
God wants us to learn from the mistakes we inevitably make. He wants us to come to Him for forgiveness and then turn away from our humanly wicked ways. No matter how badly we mess up, if we only confess our sins, God has promised to forgive us. In fact, our sins have already been paid for when Jesus bled and died on the cross for us - more than 2000 years before we were even born. "For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast." Ephesians 2:8-9
How can we repay the priceless gift of eternal life? You already know the answer. We honor God by making a commitment to obey His rules. He gave us these laws so that we can live in peace and with purpose. The Bible teaches us that if we know God, we will keep his commandments. Being good is a by-product of loving the Lord. "You will show me the path of life; in Your presence is the fullness of joy." Psalm 16:11a
We have a loving Father who has set down some ground rules for living a safe and fulfilling life. He knows we aren't going to make it through a day without sinning. He knows we aren't perfect. He allowed us to have free will so that we can choose to follow Him. We don't follow Him because we have to. We follow Him because we love him. If we have accepted Jesus as our personal savior, we will make a conscious effort to live each day in a way that is pleasing to the Lord. "...If you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved." Romans 10:9
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