Summary: 1- Don’t think you are there 2- Forget the past 3- Press on toward the goal
INTRO.- ILL.- PERFECTIONISM and bowling? Odds against rolling a perfect 300 in the game are about 225,000 to one. And one bowler appropriately collapsed when he qualified to join that brotherhood of 300. Another bowler just couldn’t bring himself to play the final ball of an otherwise perfect game. Instead he silently packed his shoes and ball and walked out -- and never again set foot inside a bowling alley!
I guess he couldn’t stand the suspense of whether he could bowl that last strike or not. Nevertheless, bowling a 300 game is not perfectionism. It might be to some people but not in the spiritual realm.
ILL.- I’ve always liked Charlton Heston, who played Moses in The Ten Commandments in 1956. Heston passed away in 2008 at the age of 84. Heston may have won many awards, but he was not a man to rest on his laurels. He was something of a perfectionist.
He said, “One of the things about acting or painting or writing or composing music, is you never get it right. You can spend a lifetime and, if you’re honest with yourself, never once was your work perfect. People say to me, ‘You’ve got the awards and the parts and the money. What are your goals now?’ I say, ‘To get it right one time.’ ”
Nice thought, huh? Do you feel as though you “got it right” just one time in regard to work, sports, hobbies, etc.?
If nothing else we may have thought we could always do just a bit better. Sports are one thing and work is another. Did you ever think you did your best in your work? I have never felt that way. I guess that’s why I keep on working. Like Heston, maybe someday I’ll get it right just one time!
No, I’ve never preached a perfect sermon but I’ve preached some good sermons. I’ve never made perfect calls on people but I keep on calling.
ILL.- I remember calling with another preacher who was preaching a revival for our church in MO. We called on a young family that had been attending our church and during our revival. We knew they were Christians and wanted to encourage them to join the church during the revival. My preacher friend and I started to visit with them and I carried the conversation since I was the local preacher. I talked and we talked. We talked on and on, about the kids, about work, one thing after another.
Finally my preacher friend broke in and asked the young couple about joining the church. They were very interested and planned to join. In fact, I think they joined the church that night.
What was wrong with that call or visit? I just talked and talked and didn’t ask that couple about joining the church. My friend brought up the subject. Why didn’t I get to the issue? I guess I feared rejection. We don’t like to be told “no” about anything, especially, something that’s good for people.
Was a perfect call? No, so I just keep on trying. I admit, however, I am less fearful now about talking to people about making a decision for Christ. Why? Because I believe in Christ and the promise of the gospel more than ever before! And any time you are convinced fully about something you are not afraid to talk about it.
The pursuit of perfection. Can we ever get there in this life? Not really, but we can grow in Christian maturity.
PROP.- How about spiritual maturity then? How can we reach a certain amount of spiritual maturity?
1- Don’t think you are there
2- Forget the past
3- Press on toward the goal
I. DON’T THINK YOU ARE THERE
12 Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already been made perfect, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me.
ILL.- One soldier said: In basic training, our first sergeant made things very clear. He told us, “Don’t question anything I say or tell you to do. Don’t worry—I hardly ever make mistakes. Matter of fact, I’ve made only one mistake in my life. I once thought I was wrong about something. It turned out I wasn’t.”
Was that sergeant perfect? No, but apparently, he thought he was.
Romans 12:3 “For by the grace given me I say to every one of you: Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgment, in accordance with the measure of faith God has given you.”
ILL.- What professional boxer said these words? "My power is so discombobulatingly devastating I could feel muscle tissues collapse under my force. It’s ludicrous that these mortals even attempt to enter my realm."