Chasing Holiness Over Perfection

In today’s fast-paced era, a familiar mantra echoes around us: Do more, push harder, avoid errors, and chase perfection. This call is not just restricted to our secular surroundings. In our churches, this sentiment has subtly woven itself, leading us to equate perfection with spiritual fulfillment.

Now, there’s a profound virtue in diligence, in giving our utmost to what we undertake, in tapping into the gifts God has entrusted us with. The Old Testament intertwines work and worship, emphasizing the sanctity of both (Exodus 34:21, Exodus 8:1). And indeed, passionate endeavors often yield beautiful results.

Yet, today’s expectations have transformed. The goalposts have shifted. Our society paints a grim picture where mistakes are magnified into public embarrassments, and anything short of impeccable is branded a catastrophe. It’s a world where many are running an unending race towards an ever-distant finish line: perfection.

The crux of the matter is that in our relentless quest for perfection, we inadvertently leave God out of the equation. Relying solely on our mortal capabilities often leads to inevitable exhaustion and burnout. As we attempt to shoulder every burden and responsibility, we send out a silent message: “God, we can handle this without You.”

God’s call for us, however, has always been about holiness, not perfection. The profound words, “Be holy, because I am holy” (1 Peter 1:16), illuminate this divine truth. True holiness is a testament to our unwavering obedience to God, not necessarily our worldly accomplishments. The Creator doesn’t evaluate us through success metrics or worldly accolades but gazes upon our hearts, our intent, and our love for Him.

John Steinbeck profoundly wrote in his book East of Eden: “Now that you don’t have to be perfect, you can be good.” Liberating ourselves from the chains of perfectionism paves the way for a more profound journey into holiness. It shifts our focus from just the destination to the spiritual evolution that transpires along the way. We transition from a binary perspective of success to recognizing and cherishing God’s handiwork within us.

This liberation also redirects our affirmation sources. Instead of seeking validation from our peers or society, we find solace, worth, and purpose in our relationship with God. Our endeavors are no longer weighed down by societal benchmarks but are uplifted by a desire to glorify Him.

In Jesus, we witness the epitome of perfection. While emulating Him is our life’s mission, we must concede that our human nature is intrinsically flawed. To chase worldly perfection is to futilely play God, a pursuit that ultimately distracts us from our true calling.

So, does this suggest we lower our standards or halt our passionate pursuits? Absolutely not. It simply invites us to shift our perspectives. Instead of being shackled by the elusive quest for perfection, let’s channel our energies into living a life that reflects God’s love, wisdom, and glory.