Genesis 2:16,17--And the Lord God commanded the man, “You are free to eat from any tree of the garden, but you must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, for on the day you eat from it, you will certainly die.
The Bible tells us in Luke 2:52 that Jesus grew in four areas—intellectually, physically, spiritually and socially. What enabled Him to be perfect was more than His deity or the author of Hebrews could not write, “For since He Himself was tested and has suffered, He is able to help those who are tested” (Hebrews 2:18). Jesus was perfect because He chose each moment to submit to God’s will.
At the beginning of each year people love to make resolutions. How many times do we say or hear someone say, “I am going to lose 30 pounds” or “I am going to quit smoking!” Or, “This year I am going to read my Bible and pray every day; I will not get angry at my co-workers.” In truth many become weary of the attempt to achieve anything! Why? Perhaps the problem is we focus on ideals and immediately our vision blurs. What we need to do is be faithful and that is where the battle comes in. We cannot change ourselves. Imperfection cannot create perfection—this is an impossibility. Only God can give us the strength to change, to be holy as He is holy. Therefore we must find out what it is He wants for us.
God told Adam and Eve they were free to eat from any tree of the garden except one. If they had just determined to submit to that one directive! They listened to a crafty serpent’s tempting proposition. They set aside God’s best for their own ideal and immediately failed. We are no different. We set out to reach our idea of ideal when we ought simply to please God by listening to His voice and by appropriating His power.
Oswald Chambers wrote in The Highest Good, “It is not more ideals we want, but the power to live up to what we know we ought to and don’t . . . Jesus Christ does not add on burden to the lives of men; He imparts the power to live up to what we know we ought, that is the meaning of His salvation.”
Jesus didn’t come to complicate our lives and make us miserable. He came that we might have life and be stoked living it! There is nothing wrong with goals or the setting of goals. But don’t have a cow over what is ideal. God is not ambiguous in His direction—follow it and be blessed!
©1997 Daniel York ARR. Reveration is the weekly devotional ministry of First Cause. If you would like to receive these devotionals go to www.firstcause.org and click on the “Click here to receive weekly devotionals” box. Unlimited permission to copy this devotional without altering text or profiteering is allowed subject to inclusion of this copyright notice.
Ecclesiastes 12:10-The Teacher sought to find delightful sayings and to accurately write words of truth. (Holman CSB)