A Less Than Perfect Life — Part 5 of series: 7 Characteristics of a Perfect Church

 two sisters

As a young girl, I looked up to my older sister, Christine. I knew she was smarter than I was. And she didn’t get into trouble near as much as I did. Perhaps that’s why I would sometimes use hurtful words to taunt her. Especially if I was losing an argument. Determined to have the last word, I remember firing back with, “Well, I’m sorry I’m not perfect like you.”

Can you see the sarcasm dripping from my words? She knew she wasn’t perfect and we both knew my words were a put down and not a compliment. Why do you suppose it’s ingrained in human nature to compare ourselves with others and to compete for the top of the heap?

Perhaps our concept of perfection is skewed. When a person tries to be perfect on his own, it comes across as arrogant, doesn’t it? That’s because it’s a facade. God alone is perfect. And yet, His desire is for us to be perfect. No, it doesn’t mean He wants us to stand out in the crowd as His perfect child. In I Peter 5:10-11, the Greek word for perfection is godly, which means “respectful toward God.”

Perfection isn’t a pedestal position. Quite the opposite. In fact, there’s only one logical way for us to aim for perfection. How? We acknowledge our sin of pride and yield the control of our lives to God. (Romans 12:1-2) When we respect the lordship of Christ, He releases His Spirit to live His godly life in and through us.

In last week’s post, I introduced the first characteristic of a perfect church. The only way we can become the church that truly honors God is to be a church where

1. God’s people understand and apply the ministry of the Holy Spirit in our moment-by-moment everyday lives.

Have you made

The Holy Spirit is our source of power to live for God. However, there’s only one way for us to truly know God and to understand His will. This leads us to the second characteristic of a perfect church. Apart from access to God’s Word, we would be hopelessly lost in a very dark world. That’s why it’s so important for us to be a church where

2. God’s people understand how to study and apply God’s Word.

I grew up hearing Bible stories and memorizing Bible verses. I embraced what I understood about Jesus’ death on the cross to pay the penalty for my sins. But I understood nothing about how to be the person I knew God wanted me to be.

I was twenty years old when I married. Nine months and three weeks later, I gave birth to the first of our five daughters. That was 56 years ago, but I can honestly say I don’t believe we would still be together if God had not intervened in our lives.

I loved my husband and children. But becoming a wife and mother doesn’t necessarily bring out the best in us, does it? In fact, it didn’t take long for me to realize we must have taken a wrong turn. We were definitely not on our way to living happily ever after.

We didn’t have a bad life. I suppose I was disappointed in marriage. It wasn’t what I thought it would be. Lasting love doesn’t come naturally, does it? I took my frustrations out on my family. Perhaps that’s because I had no idea how to discipline our children in love, rather than anger. Nor did I know how to show my husband the kind of love he deserved. As a result, I was fast becoming a person I really didn’t like.

I don’t remember crying out to God. But He heard my heart anyway. One day, a neighbor invited me to attend a women’s Bible study in Atlanta, Georgia. There, I learned how to draw upon God’s Spirit to make me the person He wanted me to be. I also learned how to study and apply God’s Word. And that’s when my life began to radically change.

Tune in next time to discover how God used the power of His Spirit and the truth of His Word to change my life. Isn’t this what the church is supposed to be about? Changed lives?

changed lives

Do you identify with any part of my story? Where are you in your spiritual pilgrimage? I realize you may not be comfortable leaving a comment on my blog. So feel free to connect with me by email. My address is elizabethwelsh2@gmail.com

woman on computer

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Comments
2 Responses to “A Less Than Perfect Life — Part 5 of series: 7 Characteristics of a Perfect Church”
  1. Lisa Tyler says:

    So I wasn’t too far off when asking if you’d had your shower yet when you seemed to be in a bad mood…only it wasn’t a shower with actual water but showering in the Holy Spirit, letting Him wash you clean each day and dressing in spirit-filled clothes!! Love you mama and so grateful to have been taught these lessons early and consistently in life, not that I have yet attained this perfection but through yours and daddy’s guidance…I know for certain…one day I will!!! 🙂

  2. Elizabeth says:

    Oh dear Liz, what a great post! Love your honesty and vulnerability! Thanks for sharing your heart and your wisdom with your audience. Love you, sweet lady!

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