This morning we continue our series entitled, “Power of Fellowship.” In the video version of yesterday’s message I got emotional. I talked about the people who are out here, in this world, with real problems, looking for Jesus. I said that they will never come to you if you put up some sort of image of perfection. People want to connect with the Jesus in you, but they will never do so if they see you on a pedestal so high that they can’t reach you. Today I am going to share with you one of the reasons why this is so important to me. Let’s read our passage again, and I will then get into it.
(1 John 1:5-10 Easy The Passion Bible)
5 This is the life-giving message we heard him share and it’s still ringing in our ears. We now repeat his words to you: God is pure light. You will never find even a trace of darkness in him.
6 If we claim that we share life with him, but keep walking in the realm of darkness, we’re fooling ourselves and not living the truth.
7 But if we keep living in the pure light that surrounds him, we share unbroken fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, continually cleanses us from all sin.
8 If we boast that we have no sin, we’re only fooling ourselves and are strangers to the truth.
9 But if we freely admit our sins when his light uncovers them, he will be faithful to forgive us every time. God is just to forgive us our sins because of Christ, and he will continue to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.
10 If we claim that we’re not guilty of sin when God uncovers it with his light, we make him a liar and his word is not in us.
So what does this mean to you today? A few things.
1. While discussing yesterday’s message with my sister, the topic of our cousin came up. We had a dear cousin who was very successful, but he tragically commited suicide. He is no longer with us, so we don’t have all the answers as to why, but from what the family can gather he crumbled under the pressure to perform. He was the first of our family to attend college in the Dominican Republic. He went on to Law School. He was a successful attorney. Later he became a judge and a Supreme Court Justice. He was the Dean of the School of Law in a prestigious University and also a published author. You would think he had it all. But like all of us, he was not perfect. The problem is that he portrayed an image of perfection and the pressure to keep up that image eventually got the best of him. It pains me to think about it. I looked up to him. I miss him. Once again, we don’t know the specifics and we can only speculate, but as a family we believe he wanted to reach out for help, but doing so would prove he was flawed. And it seems like he was unwilling to do so. He had religion. He was raised in church, like the rest of us in the family. He knew many Priests personally. But in the end he did not seek or receive the help he needed. This is one of the reasons why I hate religion. Religion causes you to put up a false image of perfection. Conversely, if we have a true relationship with Jesus, and we allow the light of God’s perfection to expose our flaws, and we are honest about them, not only will we will able to reach the lost for Jesus, but our mental health will be stronger because we will not be lying to ourselves. John made it plain. According to the Apostle John, if you claim to be perfect and sinless, you are a liar and you are calling God a liar. But if you admit your flaws and you embrace God’s grace, you can walk in the light and God is in the light and you can have meaningful fellowship with other people. This is healthy and it is pleasing to God.
2. Religion puts you under the pressure to perform. Once you are delivered from religion and you have a true relationship with God, you can embrace the fact that you are not perfect and also accept others, despite their imperfections.
3. Religion can cause you to put up an image of perfection. This image is false. You cannot live up to it. If you live this way you are living a lie. This is dangerous for your mental health. It is also dangerous for other people. Instead of drawing people to Jesus, your false image of perfection will chase them away.
4. Please be honest with yourself and with others. You are not perfect. God loves you anyway. Embrace God’s love and grace, and then extend that love and grace towards others. If you do, you will have fellowship with God and man. This is the way God wants us to live.
Declaration of Faith:
Father, I am not perfect and You love me anyway. My performance could never measure up, so You sent Jesus to perform for me. Jesus was perfect in my stead. I embrace this truth and I free myself from the pressure to perform. I have no need to put up a false image of perfection. I refuse to take on the stress associated with being perfect. Instead, I embrace the grace to be me and I allow others to be themselves. Living this way I have meaningful fellowship with You and with others. This is the way I live. It is healthy for me and healthy for those around me. This is how the lost are going to be drawn to Your Son through my life! I declare this by faith. In Jesus’ name, Amen!
This is Today’s Word. Apply it and prosper!