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Monday, August 8, 2016

Perfected for His Purpose

“Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you” (Hebrews 13:5b, NIV). “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever” (Hebrews 13:8, NIV).

My Savior is perfect for me. He will never forsake me. He is constant and unchanging. He upholds me with His unfailing love, and never-ending strength. His understanding and wisdom provides the best for me. His strength will carry me through the deepest waters safely to sure harbor. If He gives perfect love, then I can believe without question that His love will take care of me. If He gives perfect strength, then, in whatever trial I face, I can be confident that His strength will empower me.  If He has perfect understanding, then I know I will always be understood. If He is perfectly patient, then He never tires as I struggle to learn His lesson.

Not only is He perfect for me. He wants to “perfect” me for His purpose. Peter shared this “perfecting” in my life in this way. “For this very reason, make every effort to add to your faith goodness; and to goodness, knowledge; and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, perseverance; and to perseverance, godliness; and to godliness, mutual affection; and to mutual affection, love. For if you possess these qualities in increasing measure, they will keep you from being ineffective and unproductive in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ” (2 Peter 1:5-8, NIV). This is a great promise! If I allow Him to mold me, crush me, raise me, turn me inside out, teach me, guide me, chastise me, encourage me–if I allow Him to add these qualities found in 2 Peter 1, then I become more like Him. Spiritual growth produces greater faith to believe in the precious promises in His Word. I mature under His guidance. I am able to believe that He is my unchanging anchor, and my constant companion on life's journey. I discover that if I allow Him to grow me, I will not be ineffective or unproductive in living my life for Him.

Living for Him means that I allow Him to change my life so that I am perfected for His purpose. “Dear brothers and sisters,” Paul wrote, “I plead with you to give your bodies to God because of all he has done for you. Let them be a living and holy sacrifice—the kind he will find acceptable. This is truly the way to worship him. Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect” (Romans 12:1-2, NLT). Not only do I change the way I live, but I change the way I think, act, and respond. I choose to add to my faith the virtues that He wishes to impart. I grow in my knowledge of His Word and apply it to my life. I discover self-control, and the ability to perseverance through hardship. I learn the qualities that make me want to be more like Him. Ultimately I love others with His love that changes my life.

Being perfected for His purpose does not mean that I am ever perfect. Paul understood this. He wrote, “I don’t mean to say that I have already achieved these things or that I have already reached perfection. But I press on to possess that perfection for which Christ Jesus first possessed me” (Philippians 3:12, NLT). Pressing on helps me understand God's pleasing and perfect will for my life, and spiritual growth brings the ability to be effective in my life here on earth. Paul knew that his life would have to be focused on the end in order to diligently hold on. “Dear brothers and sisters, I have not achieved it (perfection), but I focus on this one thing: forgetting the past and looking forward to what lies ahead, I press on to reach the end of the race and receive the heavenly prize for which God, through Christ Jesus, is calling us” (Philippians 3:13-14, NLT). Being perfected is about pressing on toward the goal, and allowing Him to daily mold me for His purpose. Whatever lies ahead one day I will know it has been absolutely worth the journey. 

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