Saturday, March 19, 2011

Convo with Pastor - Deuteronomy 18:9, 13

When you enter the land the Lord God is giving you,
be very careful not to imitate the detestable
customs of the nations living there. ...
You must be blameless before the Lord your God.
Deuteronomy 18:9,13
The phrase "be perfect / be blameless" occurs ten times in scripture.
The most famous, perhaps, is the impossible standard that Jesus seems to set in the Sermon on the Mount. In Matthew 5:48 -- in the context of telling us to love our enemies -- Jesus says, "Be perfect, as your Father in heaven is perfect."
Isn't that an impossible standard?!
As God established his covenant with Abra[ha]m in Genesis 17:1, God sets out the same impossible standard again: "Walk before me and be blameless." 
Humanly impossible, right?
That's why much of the rest of the calls to "be blameless and perfect" are calls to our blameless Father to help us look more like him:
For example, in Psalm 19:13 the Psalmist cries: Keep your servant from willful sins; may they not rule over me. Then will I be blameless, innocent of great transgression. Right living requires God's help.
In 1 Corinthians 1:8, Paul presents God's help in this endeavor as a promise from heaven to all who yield their hearts to him: "[The Lord] will keep you strong to the end, so that you will be blameless on the day of our Lord Jesus Christ."
Humanly, perfection is impossible. But with God, all things are possible. As you strive for holiness, therefore, let me end with Paul's prayer in 1 Thessalonians 3:13
May [the Lord] strengthen your hearts
so that you will be blameless and holy
in the presence of our God and Father ...
In Christ's Love,
a perfect fool
(but what did Paul say about
being a fool for Christ?!!!)
I see perfection and blameless as two different things.  Perfection is impossible. We are humans.  Perfection can also be a trap ... if you are a perfectionist - like me - striving for perfection can be very confining.  It can cause you to not do what you know you need to do for Christ.  

Being blameless is more attainable and less restricting than perfection, yet still difficult  Follow the commandments Jesus laid out for us.  Being blameless is not as overwhelming as trying to be perfect. At least for me.

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Speak gently. carefully. thoughtfully. graciously. humbly.

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