Posted in Character Study

Perfection

When I think of perfection, I recall this blog post from my study of James 1:2-4.

Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance. And let endurance have its perfect result, so that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.

 

Perfect Result

We get this part of the process wrong most of the time. The expectation is the solution for “it” will be perfect or flawless. “Perfect” by human standards will never match up to God’s standards. For one, we live in a sinful world. Just as critical, we put too much pressure on the word perfect. This word doesn’t mean what we think it means. The Greek word telios is defined as “having reached an end; complete.”

Think of this definition of perfect as a verb tense. When we refer to the perfect tense, we are describing the result of a completed action. For example,

I have been considering it all joy whenever I have encountered various trials, knowing that the testing of my faith produces endurance.

What looks like an end by our standards may not be what we think of as perfect. The result or work—whether “it” is a behavior, task, or deed—is done. Many aspects of the result may not be to our liking. “It” could mean death–of a person, of a relationship, of a dream. “It” could mean life—in a physical healing, in a new friendship, in a fresh idea.

The part of the result we need to accept without exception is perfect does not mean everything will be tied up with a pretty bow under a tree decorated with lights. Perfect is found at the foot of Calvary’s tree where the Light of the world suffered and died. Perfect is the opened tomb of His resurrection. Perfect is His saving grace. Perfect is the gift when a particular “it” has finally come to an end.

Posted in Character Study

Pathways

I’ve been thinking quite a bit about the roads we travel. How some are long and winding. How some abruptly end. But, mostly, I’ve been considering how varied our journeys are even when it seems we are traveling together.

Take my three sons for example.

My oldest son attends a state university, anticipates studying abroad, and plans to work in the IT industry.

My middle son will go to a transition program in the fall where he will continue his work-study program.

My youngest son is still deciding between being a veterinarian, a paramedic, or a mover.

Yet, I am convinced they are traveling the pathways God has designated in advance for them. What a privilege to be part of their unique journeys!

Start children off on the way they should go,
    and even when they are old they will not turn from it.

Proverbs 22:6 NIV

Posted in Character Study

Passion

Passion is sometimes misunderstood.

I’m not talking about physical passion so much as emotional/mental passion. This is the passion that feeds our fervor for a particular discipline, interest, or calling. It is akin to what I witnessed during a tournament game this past weekend.

This particular athlete was determined to win this game. In fact, he had predetermined in his mind how it would go. With each batter-up, he became more and more convinced he had to make the play. Why? Because the score kept climbing higher for the other team. Each bobbled ball, each umpire call, each strike out sent his emotions on high alert. But, a greater loss was at stake. An assistant coach went to fetch water, his mother went to purchase Gatorade, and the head coach pulled him aside. Everyone knew he was on the precipice of passion’s pinnacle where self-control teeters on the edge of being lost. Then he did something no one expected or maybe even realized.

He took himself out of the game.

Because he realized where he stood.

Because he realized what else he might lose.

Because he realized he had to get his passion under control or he would miss his final game, the one yet-to-be-played.

Because he realized he loved something more than winning this game.

He realized he loved his team.

He returned for that final game. During the player line-up, he high-fived every teammate. He accepted play calls. He gave rallying cheers.

And his team lost the game.

But, he helped raise that fourth place trophy with his fellow captains. He didn’t leave the field for a dark corner. He stayed in the light and let the gleam glint off his smile.

He returned one last time to the game he loved. He did it for his team. He did it for himself. He did it for the One who is greatest of all.

And he won.

Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters, since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving.

Colossians 3:23-24 NIV