Spring is approaching. Grass is growing, the sun is shining, flowers are blooming, birds are chirping….. well not where I live. There are still mounds of snow piled on top of another. The grass and flowers are not blooming. The birds are not chirping. (Insert whining sigh here). However there is one bird indigenous to Alaska that I hear crowing despite the cold weather.
If you live in Alaska, you have seen these birds known as ravens, in parking lots attacking trash cans and devouring any food left on the ground. They live up to their name because they are ravenous scavengers that will eat anything. I’ve always wondered why these birds choose to stay during Alaskan winters. If I were a bird I would definitely use the wings God had given me to fly to warmer temperatures. Even though ravens don’t migrate when the weather gets cold, I don’t think these Alaskan ravens could fly very far even if they had to. These self-indulgent glutinous birds are way too fat to fly anywhere. I have never seen ravens this big ever in my life. These birds may be sleek and shiny on the outside, but their selfish desires hold them captive in the tundra weather as a result.
These Ravens remind me of the Pharisees in the Bible.
“Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You clean the outside of the cup and dish, but inside they are full of greed and self-indulgence. 26 Blind Pharisee! First clean the inside of the cup and dish, and then the outside also will be clean.” Matthew 23:25-26
The Pharisees had a tradition to engage in ceremonial washing of their body before eating, so nothing dirty would enter their bodies. However Jesus was pointing out, the Pharisees were missing the point. What was the point of physically cleaning the outside of their bodies if their hearts were filled with greed and self-indulgence? The Pharisees thought they were perfect because they followed the traditions of men. They were more concerned with keeping the tradition of ceremonial washings then keeping their hearts clean with the righteousness of God.
How true is this for our lives?
Am I like the Pharisee trying to maintain perfection on the outside but really full of un-righteousness on the inside?
I have been guilty of trying to maintain the facade that everything is perfect in my life on the outside by keeping a clean house, car, a perfectly manicured yard, obedient kids, a successful husband the list goes on. Maybe you can relate? Have you tried to find value and worth through your circumstances like me? Have you tried to seek righteousness in your own works? Truth is I can have everything perfect and neatly organized on the outside but really am falling apart on the inside.
Where is the hope or freedom in my failures?
Is success in life really measured by my performance and how perfect I look from the outside?
There will be times my achievements fail. Times I don’t always get it right. There will always be another room to clean in my house. There will always be a child’s behavior to correct. There may be times my husband and I don’t get along. There will always be that certain something that doesn’t go as planned. Does that mean I receive a reward only if my circumstances are going well in my life?
Perfectionism and keeping a bunch of rules will never make me righteous or bring me peace or freedomClick To Tweet
I am not perfect. But I am made perfect in God. Though God’s eyes even when I fall short, He sees me as his perfect workmanship and makes up for my shortcomings (Romans 3:23).
He created and designed all of us with a purpose that is greater than our next performance.The secret to being perfect isn’t in what we do ourselves with our own strength but in what God can do in us with His strength.Click To Tweet
God cares more about the condition of our hearts than how clean our houses are. His desire is for us to love him with all of our heart, all of our soul and all of our minds” (Matthew 22:37).
Jesus tells the Pharisees, “First clean the inside of the cup and dish, and then the outside also will be clean” Matthew 23:26. He was trying to teach them you will always be held captive by selfish desires and trying to maintain perfectionism. We will always be set free in God’s truth and love for us.
“You will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” John 8:32
When I seek God for my righteousness and desires of my heart he shows me “I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works; our souls knows it very well (Psalm 139:14). Righteousness does not come from ourselves or in anything we do, but from God himself.
“…not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which comes through faith in Christ, the righteousness from God that depends on faith—“ (Philippians 3:9).
Our hearts will always find peace in His presence and freedom in His truth.
The next time there are a pile of dishes in your sink, say to yourself, “Bless this mess, because I a made perfect in God!” Thankfully God cares more of how clean my heart is than my sink!
Have you ever met someone and thought wow they have it all together, to only find out they are shattered and broken on the inside?
You never know what someone is going through. Just because their life seems perfect on the inside doesn’t mean it’s true. Thankfully we have all been saved by his grace. His grace and purpose are always greater.
“He has saved us and called us to holy life–not because of anything we have done but because of his own purpose and grace. This grace was given us in Christ Jesus before the beginning of time.” 2 Timothy 1:9
Can you relate to the Pharisees?
Do you allow circumstances to enslave you and determine your happiness?
Have you been victim to performance and perfectionism?
How has God’s truth set you free?
Our circumstances will always change. God’s truth is eternal and everlasting! There is hope when we seek our truth and identity in God. You are perfectly perfect in who God says you are. He created you and never makes mistakes. You are perfect!
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