Wednesday, July 19, 2006:
Many will get the impression that we are demanding perfection. Jesus did not demand perfection.
He said to the wealthy young man that if he wanted to be perfect that he should convert all is wealth to the poor and then follow Jesus. Jesus had already made clear to the young man that the young man was doing those things necessary for life and this life. However, the fellow wanted to know what else he could do beyond what he was already doing. He asked what he was still lacking. Jesus gave him his answer.
We covered this in the main volume of the work already. You may review that if you wish. What we want to do here is discuss failure, not to justify ourselves but rather to keep ourselves from continuing to strive after a setback.
If we are under the impression that we reach perfection instantly, we need to disabuse ourselves of that mistaken notion.
Perfection is not a relative thing. God is absolutely perfect. No one ever exceeds God. The best anyone has ever done, or will ever do, is become closer and be accepted by God as one with God.
Jesus told the young man what to do if he wanted to become perfect. He told him the first steps. He implied the whole narrow way. However, the young man would have had yet to learn that. He would not have been instantly perfect simply by doing the first steps Jesus told him.
When we embark upon seeking the truth, which is perfect, absolute, and God, we don't just instantly become perfect. We are still subjected to trial by temptation and error. If we don't realize this, we will despair at our lack of being the finished product before we have done the growing.
Remember, this is no way diminishes the power of God to instantly transform anything or anyone into anything else. With enough growth in the spirit, in faith, such things will open up. That is what Jesus taught.
The point is that when we are tempted, and we are tempted every time we have to say "no," we are temptable that is less than perfect. God is not temptable. Satan cannot stimulate any temptation in God to do evil. Therefore, until we reach the point of straightening that even the thought or feeling of doing something harmful no longer enters the realm of possibility, we are less than perfectly one with God. We are relative even as God accepts us as God's real children.
More to the point though is that when we are tempted and cave in, we must remember that such caving in is conducive to a further sliding. We must not at that point give up, saying to ourselves that we are unworthy to even keep striving. At the same time, we cannot dismiss our errors. We must rather redouble our efforts. We must grow from the error and grow in the right direction. It must become that much more unlikely that next time we will fall. It must become that much more unlikely that we will even be tempted by the same temptation or any temptation.
Let us remember that only Jesus so far of any human being I know of has been attempted to be sifted by evil and has come out of the experience whole. Look at how straight Jesus had to be made successfully to go through his ordeal.
Also, always keep in mind that those who introduce temptation into your life are products of the culture and society. They too have been tempted and fallen, else they would not be a temptation. Also keep in mind that not everyone even knows or thinks about that or how that one is presenting a temptation. To many fallen souls, even the innocent present a temptation.
As a clarification, there is a difference between luring and preying upon the innocent versus falling prey to the temptations of the merely tainted or extremely filthy (corrupted). Also, when we speak of the corrupted, there is the broken one who is not preying upon others versus the broken one who is extremely ravenous. The extremely filthy, ravenous ones are the greater sinners.
To the point, don't give up. Learn and grow. If your lack of worthiness is your doubt, quitting doesn't show worthiness.