Summary: Salvation set us free. Then why do we try to prove our worth.
I. Are you a perfectionist?
A. This is what my dictionary says the definition of Perfectionism is -
1. “The refusal to accept any standard short of perfection” and or
2. “The philosophy or doctrine that religious, moral, social, or political perfection is attainable”
B. If we take those definitions as being accurate, we would all probably say, “No I am not a perfectionist; at least not a total perfectionist. BUT
C. If we are honest, most, if not all of us would probably be able to pick out an area or two where we have pefectionistic tendencies.
II. Don’t believe me; take this short test.
A. Do you ever feel guilty when you relax, knowing you’ve got a lot to do?
B. Do you often feel dissatisfied or discontent with yourself or your situation?
C. Do you have a tendency to see something wrong with things rather than what is right?
D. Do you ever find yourself using these phrases regularly,
1. “I have to...
2. “I must...
3. “I ought to...
4. “I should be able to...”?
E. Does your relationship with God seem like a burden rather than a blessing?
III. If you answered yes to any of those questions; “Congratulations: You just might be a perfectionist!!!”
IV. Now being quite honest, certainly there are times when we can be making excuses for bad habits, but we must also be honest and say that there can be extremes on both sides of the issue.
V. The church in Galatia was having a problem understanding the freedom that is afforded through faith in Christ.
A. Perfectionism, if left uncheck,can become like chains stealing away our joy and freedom.
B. Paul therefore tells the Galatians in Chapter 5, verse 1 - It was for freedom that Christ set us free; therefore keep standing firm and do not be subject again to a yoke of slavery.
C. He also writes in Galatians 3:3 "Are you so foolish? Having begun by the Spirit, are you now being perfected by the flesh?"
VI. It is true that Jesus said “Therefore you are to be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect.” (Matt. 5:28, NASB)
A. But we must understand that in that passage, Jesus was speaking to a specific, individual issue.
B. When we take those words and attempt to apply them to ever facet of our lives or when we take it to the extreme in any one area, we will most certainly run into trouble.
VII. Another word we might use for “Perfectionism” is “Legalism” and the bible says that perfectionism is a trap that can impede our relationship with God, and our relationships with others.
A. This morning we are going to look at “God’s Liberating Grace.”
B. But first let me quickly give you three areas where perfectionism can hamper our lives.
VIII. First perfectionism can defeat our initiative.
It Defeats Our Initiative
I. Have you ever felt the desire to do something, only to decide that the project was just to big for you.
A. The time isn’t right.
B. I don’t have enough money, ability, help, or whatever else you might feel is needed.
C. I just can’t do this NOW.
II. Listen to what the writer of Ecclesiastes says - He who watches the wind will not sow and he who looks at the clouds will not reap. (NASB)
A. It might be better understood from a modern translation - "If you wait for perfect conditions, you’ll never get anything done."
III. Perfectionism says,
A. Everything must be in place, before I will attempt to begin.
B. Perfectionism more often says, “The time will never be right; it’s best to wait” and thus you never begin.
IV. Perfectionism can kill our initiative, and can kill our vision for what could be, but God’s liberating grace free’s us to try the untried.
V. The second danger in perfectionsim is this - Perfectionism/Legalism damages relationships.
I. How many of us enjoy being around someone that is always correcting us; nagging us?
II. The great love chapter of the Bible says this about love - 4 Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. 5 It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs.
A. Check it out - “Love keeps no record of wrongs.”
B. If we are always correcting or nagging someone, are we not saying to them,
1. “I have lost my patience with you...”
2. “I am right, you are wrong.”
3. To often, “I am seeking my will, and I am not forgetting what you have done, or not done, or ...”
C. Again, Jesus said in Matthew, “Be perfect as your Father is perfect,” referring to love.