Tuesday, August 24, 2010

To Gain the Whole World and Yet....

First off, thanks to archar for following! It's always high to log on and see that someone else is interested in what I've got to say.

The following is something I wrote on vacation; here is a revised and updated version which still encapsulates what what I was trying covey.


I think the prosperity doctrine, which permeates much of the American church, has effected the way I view God and the world around me.
The rose colored glasses in this case, happen to be ray-bans (the latest model of course). Because for Americans, materialism is one of our strongest demons. Satan has pointed us toward the end of the rainbow, and sent us packing. We spend our entire lives turning over rocks, and looking for that elusive pot of gold at the end. Somewhere along the way, most people realize we can no more find the pot of gold than we can climb the rainbow.

For as long as I can remember (at least as long as I've been a teenager), I've felt this deep need to get “there.” Where is there you ask? Why, just this side of perfection of course.
“There,” is vague point in the future when I've got enough wisdom, muscle, charm and intellect to make Chuck Norris jealous. Oh, and of course, I'll have a great relationship with Christ. And because I thought it was a good idea set perfection as my standard and slowly trudged toward it.

I thought I would naturally become that person as I grew older. While, the ideal me has changed a bit over the past couple years, the basic selfish idea remains the same. I believed my future happiness depended upon how closely I resembled that ideal. When I saw others who were better me in some way, I envied them.

Over recent months my own ignorance has been slowly revealed to me. I've come to see how my death grip on perfection, has only caused it to slip through my fingers like sand. It has prevented me from living life to the fullest because I constantly wish the situation were improved in some way. If I'm on a trip then I don't have all the friends I want, if I'm eating the food isn't good enough, if I'm play football I'm not athletic enough. “If only, if only,” I lament idiotically. All the while life passes me by.
Slowly, I'm learning to find contentment where God has placed me.

Yet, something still troubled me. I found myself in a place where I squirmed at the prospect of reading my Bible for no conceivable reason. Clean conscience or no, good mood or bad, I didn't enjoy the prospect of getting in the word. It was frustrating and confusing.

Over vacation, I was pondering the matter when a revelation hit me. In my perfect future, I would have a perfect relationship with Jesus, but in my fantasies, the relationship wasn't about Jesus; it was about my own righteousness. The whole fantasy was based upon my my selfish, egotist (and insecure) bid for the admiration of others.

There is an interesting passage in the book of Job, chapter 29 to be exact. In my Bible, I have highlighted all the personal pronouns in one color and every direct reference to God in another. It was an exercise a Bible teacher gave me to point out Job's pride. He is complaining to God, telling him that he was nearly perfect, that he doesn't deserve all the calamity God allowed to occur. Job uses God's name 5 times, while referencing himself 42 times (NIV)!

Perspective problems perhaps (notice my triple alliteration)? Heck yes! I've got same problem Job does, pride. My perfectionism only exacerbates the dilemma.

Now, I'm slowly learning to apply what I've been taught, evaluating goals and decisions based what pleases God. I'm even learning to base decisions on what I want, without attempting to show off for anyone. It's difficult, but liberating, and I've got the best coach in the universe to keep me on track.

Thanks for reading!



  1. I don't think that was Job's problem. Look instead at Job 42.7-8 this shows God's displeasure at Job's friends attempting to explain God. Is it your/my place to judge Job, or compare ourselves to him? I fall horribly short, and don't like to be shown the comparison.

  2. First: I identify on falling short, and certainly Job was a far more righteous man than I'll ever be.
    Second: I know we must be careful as Christians when passing judgement, because we can very easily stray into hypocrisy. I don't pretend I haven't done this before. To answer your question, I think it's just fine to identify with Job's short comings.
    Third: I looked up the reference, yes I don't deny that God is angry with Job's friends (if you can call them such). However, if you look at chapters 38-41 it is made clear that God is challenging Job and not his friends>

    Hopefully this is satisfactory (and polite) answer to your question.

  3. I just wanted to let you know that I got your comment about participating in the Blog Scavenger Hunt!


  4. Hey! I forgot to tell you that I need your email address for the Scavenger Hunt so I can email your clue to you :) If you wouldn't mind, send me a message at livinglovinglaughinglearning@gmail.com. Thanks! :)


  5. I struggle so much with this... I too am a (sometimes) prideful perfectionist. I tend to be... not quite in denial, but somewhere in the district, when it comes to my shortcomings. When running out of time to meet an important deadline for something, for some reason I don't move any faster. I've come to understand that I'm not moving faster because if I did that would suggest I needed to. And if I needed to, I put it off too long. And if I'd put off something for too long, it was entirely my mistake. And I don't let myself make those, so something must be very, very wrong. And when it comes to my relationship with God… I need to work harder, that is for sure. Anyway, congratulations on the revelation and reevaluation, and the liberation that they bring. I should stop and reevaluate myself, make the time for it... thanks for this post, and I'm so sorry I hadn't commented sooner! I sincerely thought I did...(maybe I should stop using Google Reader so much) :/.
    Thank you for sharing,