Lent Devotional • Day 8

Day 8: Thursday, March 10
First Week of Lent: “Be Like Jesus by Uniting with Him”

“Become Christ-like by Pursuing Christ—Not Perfection”

Scripture from Philippians
But whatever were gains to me I now consider loss for the sake of Christ. 8 What is more, I consider everything a loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them garbage, that I may gain Christ 9 and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ—the righteousness that comes from God on the basis of faith. 10 I want to know Christ—yes, to know the power of his resurrection and participation in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, 11 and so, somehow, attaining to the resurrection from the dead. 12 Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already arrived at my goal, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. (Phil. 3)

How are we “Transformed in Christ” and shaped to be more like Him?
Some people have equated the goal of the Christian life is to become a better person. While that might be the by-product of the Christian life, it certainly is not the goal. Why? Because that goal
is about pursuing our goodness. Before long, that would work against us. We would be self-righteous judges of others and delight in their shortfalls. Maintaining our attempts at perfection would be what drives us. This would be a miserable life. What is our goal then? Pursue Christ. Learn more about Him. Love Him more. Serve Him more. Regardless of what it costs. And it will cost. It will be God’s grace that gives us opportunities to suffer for our faith so that we might be more trusting in Him. So, keep on keeping on! Don’t give up! Pursue Christ!

How do you see this “Truth that Transforms” working in your life?

The following is an application story written by Kari Johnson. After you read it, ask yourself the same question. “How do I see this ‘Truth that Transforms’ working in my life?

“Jason, can you pick up Natalie from basketball?” “Perfect!”
“Mom, can I paint today?”
Perfect. Perfect. Perfect.
Over the last few years, I have heard “perfect” become the response to almost anything in every- day conversation. I became concerned about it when I noticed my daughters using it frequently in response to me when something went their way, or they got what they wanted. I’ve also seen their response when something doesn’t go perfectly–it’s not pretty.
I also found myself using it more in response to both of them when they did as they were instructed. It’s become completely normalized in our everyday language.

But in a world where diagnosed anxiety is rising at an alarming rate, I’ve been wondering if using that word so frequently isn’t setting them up for unrealistic expectations. Plans aren’t always going to go perfectly. Mom and Dad aren’t going to be perfect. Life isn’t going to be perfect. We’re not perfect. We’re sinful creatures. So why are we using a word that sets up those unrealistic expectations? A more worthy goal? Love each other like Christ. Serve and forgive like Christ.
I began this year with the goal to remove “perfect” from my everyday vocabulary. It’s made me painfully aware of how often it comes out of my mouth. It’s also been freeing. Removing the expectation of worldly perfection is freeing. Most importantly, it brings peace to my family when our collective focus is on knowing and loving Christ more than being perfect for the world.