Settling for “Not Bad”
“My conscience is clear, but that does not make me innocent. It is the Lord who judges me.” – 1 Corinthians 4:4
I have a continuing struggle in my life, and I plan to have it until the day I go to be with the Lord. I can’t seem to figure out what is best for me each day. Maybe that’s not completely true. Sometimes I think I know what is best, but I choose to settle for “not bad”. As Paul says above, we have fooled ourselves into thinking that God judges us based on our conscience and our good intentions. Our conscience may be clear, and our intentions may be good, but that does not make us right. Good intentions will only go so far. They will never be right unless they are paired with Biblical truths, and the Biblical truth is that we have a job to do and should not be settling for not bad. As I watch a movie or television, play a game, sleep in, or whatever it may be, I have a war going on inside of me. Is this the best way for me to spend my time? Is this the best way for me to spend my morning, my afternoon, my night, my week, my month, my hour, my minute…?
I have put myself in a difficult position, because this is a battle that I will be fighting until I am brought into perfection. This will never end. I do not want to settle for “not bad”. Well, watching tv is not bad. Going out to this restaurant is not bad. Building this building is not bad. Creating this program is not bad. Having this event is not bad. Saying this to my wife is not bad. Have we ever stopped to consider that not doing what is best may actually be, dare I say it, bad?
“You must therefore be perfect, as your Heavenly Father is perfect.” – Matthew 5:48
“And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.” – James 1:4
“Not that I have already obtained this or am already perfect, but I press on to make it my own, because Christ Jesus has made me His own. Brothers, I do not consider that I have made it my own. But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus. Let those of us who are mature think this way, and if anything you think otherwise, God will reveal that also to you.” – Philippians 3:12-15
I have heard people say, “Well, I’m not trying to be perfect, you know.” I have to say, “Why not!” Is that not what God has called us to? I understand I will never be sinless until I am with the Father, but is my goal as a follower of Christ not to strive for perfection with every breath I am given? Some look at me and say, “Well then when do you stop? You can always give more and sacrifice more, so when do you stop?” May I say emphatically, “NEVER!” That’s the point! There is no stopping. There is not a time when I will put down my Bible and say, “I have accomplished it. I am fine right where I am. I have become perfect.” That day will never come, which is exactly why this process will never stop.
As believers, we must realize that Satan is crafty, and he uses what we often consider good or not bad against us. We settle for these and fall into a trap of comfort that keeps us from finding what is best. I tell you that I would be perfectly fine with going to sleep tonight in my comfortable home and multiple ways to access the Gospel if I knew that every other person on this planet had the same ability. Unfortunately, that is not the case. Therefore, I must take it upon myself as a follower of Christ to complete the task we have been given as the church. It is our job to make sure people of every nation, tribe, and tongue hear the message of Jesus Christ.
So, I have to ask you, “What is best for your life?” Or shall I phrase it this way: “What is best for your life to best impact the world for the Kingdom of God?” What is the best way to spend your day? What is the best job for you to have to impact the Kingdom? What is the best way to use your money and for your church to use its resources? What is the best way to father/mother your children? What is the best way to talk to your husband/wife? What is the best way to live out your purpose as a living sacrifice?
I don’t know about you, but these are not easy questions for me to answer. I pray that you struggle with them too. I pray that we would struggle with them together every day of our earthly lives. Grab your sword and join me in the battle against settling for not bad.
Commanded and Called,