This is a continuation and final installment of the sermon I heard at Crossroads Community Church this week, given by Pastor Robert Barker.
In the first two installments of this sermon recap, I shared that my struggles with trying to be perfect creates the need to break this dysfunctional cycle in my life. Based on most 12 step programs, there are several truths to making this change.
Step 1 – I am powerless
Step 2 – I need the faith that I can be changed by God’s Power
If you’ve ever attended a 12 step program or have access to most lists on the internet, it’s easy to see that Step 3 says something like, “Make a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God”. Pastor Bob put it this way, “Let God be in charge”. Wow, what a profound yet simple concept! And yet, for years I said the words and did little to allow God to guide me (even though I really have no power to stop Him!).
As Pastor was sharing this concept, as well as his own struggle with the presentation of “perfection” that I so resonate with, I allowed my memory to scan the last 20 or so years of my life. I quickly realize I DID have some growth I could smile about and that was a blessing. Yet, I also have to admit there have been many more areas where I continue to hold onto the lame comfort of my own efforts at this thing I like to call perfection, but in truth is a very weak film of fakeness. I’ve been over that in depth the last few days here on this blog. 🙂
And yet, before I could begin to feel dejected by my own shortcomings, Pastor began to preach the Word. We turned to Romans 12:1-2, which says, “Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship. Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.”
Most of my Christian life has translated this verse like this – do not be like non-Christians. Present yourself as holy, set a good example for non-believers, be a good picture as God’s Ambassador.
Given my struggle with presenting one thing……of being perfect and all that…….can you see where my translation of this verse was skewed by my dysfunction? Can you see that it added to the perpetuation of the very thing I KNEW God was trying to break in my life?
But have no fear, Pastor Bob explained this verse to me and the others in attendance Sunday, and it broke so many mental chains for me that I have been shaking my head with joy and appreciation since!
Here is how Pastor explained it – don’t “fit in”. Don’t conform to our cultures to present what we think we need to be to fit in. Do not give people what they demand based on their OWN perception of things! Instead, give all you are INSIDE – give the TRUE YOU – to God! That’s all we need to do! And before we know it, the authentic people inside (whether good, bad, or ugly) will begin to realize our powerlessness (step 1), will begin to trust God to take care of our shortcomings (step 2), and will give the reins to God (step 3). And, I might add that He will NEVER shut His door on ANYONE! “Come as your are” brings a whole new dimension to this amazing interaction that God is so excited to enter into with you and me!
Wow. You mean, truly, that the INSIDE of my life can really REALLY match what others see on the OUTSIDE? It’s not just a happy concept that everyone talks about but no one does? I don’t have to hide, lie, present anymore? TRUE!
Yes, truly, that is what the Bible says. That is what Pastor Bob was so wonderful to share with us, with ME. And the Truth is more than a concept! The Truth, as most admit, sets you free!
So today, think on the fact that this exodus of your spirit can happen – whatever it is in YOUR life that is holding you back can begin to change with these three steps. I can’t speak to the amazing transformative areas of the next steps, because I haven’t learned them yet! 🙂 But already my life has changed alarmingly and gloriously in that last few days, and I pray that you can partake in this joy as well!