September 29-30, 2012
Writing these devotionals is so enjoyable and such a blessing to me and the staff in so many ways. One aspect that blesses us are the comments and feedback we receive from you. They are powerfully encouraging and exciting. Why? Because we get to see, daily, what God is doing through us in your lives. That God would choose to partner with us is so exhilarating and purpose-giving. I am still amazed He wants to use us, when He is powerfully able to do it all, perfectly, on His own. Stepping Stones has also been incredibly enriching to me because it pushes me to dig deeply into God’s word regularly, so I can articulate His truth to someone else.
Unfortunately, like all gifts and provisions from God in this world, there is a downside. Because of Satan’s schemes and my flesh (that me-centered nature), what God intends for good can be corrupted easily.
You see, I want to say so much in each Transformational Thought. Instead of a feel-good message, it’s one that informs and inspires you to make a change so you can Iive the life God wants for you … that very day. Being a psychiatrist, I want to equip you with very practical tips to utilize that day to change one or more faulty life patterns and improve the strategies you use to fight against Satan’s attacks. Then I need to re-package 4 to 5 pages of content into a couple paragraphs, because not many will read it if it gets too long!
Well, being an engineer, I am a perfectionist. And Satan uses that character flaw to try and suck the joy and excitement out of the blessing of being used by God to impact others. I’ve already written this one a couple times, wanting to make an impact, and be precise, catchy, brief, and practical. Why perfectionism? Unfortunately, it’s often about my issues and insecurities, and not about seeking God and serving Him well. I really have to be intentional about not falling into that trap. It’s important to remember that we live in a broken world, a world that is far from normal because it is tainted by sin. So much failure and frustration result from needing or seeking perfection in others, our circumstances or ourselves.
Today, remember that yearning for perfection is not a bad thing in and of itself. God placed that yearning in your heart so you would search for Him. When you push for perfection, stop and evaluate. Is it for your image and driven by the opinions of others, or is it really for God? Most of the time, God would be fine if you gave just 20% of your efforts to most areas of life and spent the other 80% of your time with Him. Remember Mary and Martha. Pursuing perfection out of fear of failure or connecting with God is your decision, so choose well.
Dear God, I know, Father, that my heart and soul contains many ill effects from the fall. As a result of this, I often try and achieve perfection apart from You. This sets me down a path of frustration, insecurity, inadequacy, and failure. I sadly admit, Father, that this wrong path also includes some form of idolatry – worshipping myself, other’s opinions, or even the task itself. I want to return to You Lord … to the path that leads me to You. I will do this, Lord, by seeking You first and foremost. As I seek You, Father, I know You will set my feet on the right Stepping Stone … that You will give me a firm place to stand and the guidance to take the next right step. Help my search for perfection by pointing me to You. I pray in Jesus’ perfect name; and all God’s people say – AMEN!
He lifted me out of the slimy pit, out of the mud and mire; he set my feet on a rock and gave me a firm place to stand. He put a new song in my mouth, a hymn of praise to our God. Many will see and fear and put their trust in the LORD. Psalm 40:2-3
that by any means possible I may attain the resurrection from the dead. Not that I have already obtained this or am already perfect, but I press on to make it my own, because Christ Jesus has made me his own. Brothers, I do not consider that I have made it my own. But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, Philippians 3:11-13
Now as they were traveling along, He entered a village; and a woman named Martha welcomed Him into her home. She had a sister called Mary, who was seated at the Lord’s feet, listening to His word. But Martha was distracted with all her preparations; and she came up to Him and said, “Lord, do You not care that my sister has left me to do all the serving alone? Then tell her to help me.” But the Lord answered and said to her, “Martha, Martha, you are worried and bothered about so many things; but only one thing is necessary, for Mary has chosen the good part, which shall not be taken away from her.” Luke 10:38-42