All the paths of the Lord are steadfast love and faithfulness for those who keep God’s covenant and decrees. (Psalm 25:10)
One of our greatest challenges as the body of Christ is relearning what it means to be faithful.
Far too often over the centuries, people have equated faithfulness with perfection. It is an easy enough mistake to make – if you believe this thing or do that thing, you will be marked as perfect. And God requires our perfection, right?
No. God does not require our perfection. In fact, Jesus came into this world entirely because we are not perfect. Never have been. Never will be. We quite literally cannot be.
All of us have sinned and fallen short. All of us do every day. We are human. We are fallible. We are not God.
So why has the church been obsessed with honoring perfection among believers?
Because we love to designate “in” and “out” groups. It makes it so much easier if everyone tows the party line, so to speak. The church has been permanently using perfection as a marker to keep people from asking questions. From ever feeling they can overcome. From actually finding God.
Even in many of our churches today, being the card-carrying member who prays in just the right way, does all the “Christian” activities, who speaks Christianese, and is obsessed with the good JC – some churches require this of its members. And when they do, people who are in desperate need of God get turned away.
But, as the wise have learned, “The church is mean to be a hospital for the sick. Not a museum for saints.”
God does not call us to be perfect. God calls us to be faithful. And faithfulness means something else entirely.
Faithfulness is about intentionally seeking God, seeking to follow Christ, seeking to find the Holy Spirit as they guide you toward the people you are meant to serve. It means trying and sometimes failing. It means asking the hard questions. It means being willing to make a fool of ourselves to make another feel welcome. And it means loving with reckless abandon.
That is the life to which we have been called. Faithfulness.
The good news is this: you are a beloved child of God and God created you to live your faith in this world because you are that important. Just like everyone else. So seek to be faithful and let your need to be perfect be buried with your other sins in Christ’s death – because that is where that need truly belongs.