Imperfect People Following a Perfect God
By Christopher L. Scott
Moses Lake, Washington
Life is messy. And as believers, it’s a relief to say those words, and admit that is how the world is. (As a pastor I can admit that church work is messy too!)
More people would visit our church services on Sundays or try out our Bible studies during the week if we admitted that life is messy. If they knew that they could come as they are and not have to be perfect, they would more likely visit us. If they knew they didn’t have to present the perfect image or let everyone know they have it all together, then they would be more likely to become part of our faith communities.
The apostle Paul had arrived in the city of Corinth after a discouraging experience in Athens (Acts 17:15-33). He was also probably anxious about the believers he had just left in the city of Thessalonica (Acts 17:1-14). When he arrived in the city of Corinth he saw sin, wickedness, prostitution, and drunkenness. Paul’s arrival in Corinth only added to his anxiety that started in Athens and Thessalonica.
Paul wrote about this messy life to the believers in Corinth, “And when I came to you, brethren, I did not come with superiority of speech or of wisdom, proclaiming to you the testimony of God. For I determined to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ, and Him crucified. I was with you in weakness and in fear and in much trembling, and my message and my preaching were not in persuasive words of wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power, so that your faith would not rest on the wisdom of men, but on the power of God.” 1 Corinthians 2:1-5 (NASB)
In these five verses I believe Paul gives us three principles we can follow that will help people (both inside and outside the church) understand that we don’t have everything figured out.
First, share our story. Tell others about what we’ve been through; about the good and bad decisions we’ve made, as well as what we have learned through the process.
Second, know Scripture. Through our story, we see how God has worked in our lives and provided for us. Including Scripture shows others how God was working through us and our circumstances.
Third, let God do His work. There is only so much that we can do and control in our lives. At some point can release control of our circumstances and our desired outcomes. Instead of trying to create what we want, we can let God work in our lives.
For us to minister to others we don’t need to brag about “how clean our lives have become because of Christ.” We can instead show others how “God still accepts us when we are messed up” because life is messy.
Christopher L. Scott, a graduate of Dallas Theological Seminary, is a pastor and freelance writer. Christopher L. Scott writes from Exeter, CA. Learn more about his writing ministry at ChristopherLynnScott.com.
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