We are proof of
imperfection and sin.
God designed perfect people to walk with Him in a perfect world. Sin entered the world because of our choice. And look around you at the world, look at me? We are proof of imperfection and sin. Yet Jesus taught us to pray for God’s Kingdom to be seen “on earth as it is in heaven.” It’s possible because God is in charge–He has a plan and a purpose for us even in our sinful circumstances of this world.
And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them.Romans 8:28, NLT
Nature or Nurture?
How can we, imperfect as we are, fulfill God’s purpose for our lives?
There is an ongoing argument in our society about nature versus nurture—what are traits we were born with and what are learned? People hold strong opinions this regarding depression, inability to escape life in a ghetto, children of alcoholics turning to alcohol, homosexuality, etc.
- If you believe that God designed each one of us, how could we be born with issues we have to overcome? Why aren’t we perfect at birth?
- Are we right to blame our parents, childhood caretakers,or government programs or the lack of them for our problems and failures? Does establishing blame lead us to growth and healing?
What about infirmities and disabilities?
All of us have infirmities or disabilities to some extent–which we spend a great amount of effort to hide. What is our attitude toward those who live and suffer with infirmities or disabilities that can’t be hidden? How can we as the Body of Christ learn better to welcome them into the community and encourage them to offer their gifts–because they have gifts to give?
- Can physical, emotional, or mental situations be changed if the sufferer would just pray “right” or have stronger faith?
- Does God’s plan for you need to include a total release from physical or mental health problems?
- What was Christ’s response to Paul request for release from his thorn in the flesh? (See 2 Corinthians 12:7-10) What attitude did he choose toward it?
Resource: In Joy in Our Weakness, Marva Dawn writes compassionately for those who suffer born out of her own struggles with physical limitations and chronic illness. It is intended to help the whole church learn how to find joy in every circumstance of life, especially in trials and sufferings.
Marva Dawntells the story of a friend with obvious physical limitations. “He greatly longed for his pastor to stop praying in public worship for his healing. Such a practice enforced the attitude in the whole congregation that he was not accepted in their midst until he was changed. He seemed to represent a failure on their part to claim God’s power sufficiently, and so they could not tolerate this weakness that reminded them of their own.”1
- Is it wrong to pray for healing? If God doesn’t heal us miraculously, does that mean we aren’t worth healing? What if God says, “no?”
- What would a public prayer sound like that would show this man that he is valued for who he is, for his life as it is?
- What could this man teach us?
We have God’s intentional will and His ultimate will to cling to. To all who believe in His name, He has given this promise–this world is not our home; our home is with Him.
Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the old heaven and the old earth had disappeared. And the sea was also gone. And I saw the holy city, the new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven like a bride beautifully dressed for her husband.
I heard a loud shout from the throne, saying, “Look, God’s home is now among his people! He will live with them, and they will be his people. God himself will be with them. He will wipe every tear from their eyes, and there will be no more death or sorrow or crying or pain. All these things are gone forever.”
And the one sitting on the throne said, “Look, I am making everything new!” And then he said to me, “Write this down, for what I tell you is trustworthy and true.”And he also said, “It is finished! I am the Alpha and the Omega—the Beginning and the End. To all who are thirsty I will give freely from the springs of the water of life. All who are victorious will inherit all these blessings, and I will be their God, and they will be my children. But cowards, unbelievers, the corrupt, murderers, the immoral, those who practice witchcraft, idol worshipers, and all liars—their fate is in the fiery lake of burning sulfur. This is the second death.Revelations 21:1-8, NLT
God has a plan to redeem the perfect creation that He made, and He wants no one left out. There will be a wonderful harmony between God and people—in the way that he designed. How can you move closer to His design while still in this imperfect, sinful world? Read below the last invitation in the Bible:
“Come!” say the Spirit and the Bride. Whoever hears, echo, “Come!” Is anyone thirsty? Come! All who will, come and drink, drink freely of the Water of Life!“Revelations 22:17, The Message
Pray with me:
You’ve invited us into your family, Father God. Thank you that while we are still in this imperfect world, we have your presence, your redemption, and your promise. Help us to drink deeply of you. Amen
1Marva J. Dawn, Joy in Our Weakness, (Grand Rapids, Eerdmans, 2002), 22