Wednesday, September 29, 2010

2 Peter for Perfectionists

Yesterday we looked at the fears and inaccurate beliefs that go through the mind of a perfectionist.  Things like equating one small mistake with complete failure. Things like if one little part is less than just so, the whole thing is ruined.  Things like every house on the block is tidy and clean but mine.  Things like I have to be so much better than I am before I can do that.

We’re going to talk more here about how this plays out and how to stop it from playing out.  But today I want to bring us back to the Word of God. And remind us once again that God does not treat us as completely ruined and useless when we make a small mistake or when we commit a massive sin. His mercy is new every morning - sunrises exist for the perfectionist!  Forgiveness is abundantly available. 

I also want to remind us of what is essential in life (godly love and character) and what is not (a 20” waist or following all the advice in Real Simple magazine).  The Word holds the power to renew our minds and point us to what is truly essential. So read the following passage slowly. In fact, read each sentence through slowly twice before moving on to the next sentence.  Let it sink in. 

2 Peter 1:3-12 (New International Version)

Making One's Calling and Election Sure
3His divine power has given us everything we need for life and godliness through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness. 4Through these he has given us his very great and precious promises, so that through them you may participate in the divine nature and escape the corruption in the world caused by evil desires.

5For this very reason, make every effort to add to your faith goodness; and to goodness, knowledge; 6and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, perseverance; and to perseverance, godliness; 7and to godliness, brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness, love. 8For if you possess these qualities in increasing measure, they will keep you from being ineffective and unproductive in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. 9But if anyone does not have them, he is nearsighted and blind, and has forgotten that he has been cleansed from his past sins.

10Therefore, my brothers, be all the more eager to make your calling and election sure. For if you do these things, you will never fall, 11and you will receive a rich welcome into the eternal kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

12So I will always remind you of these things, even though you know them and are firmly established in the truth you now have.


Now in your own words summarize the key points of this as they stood out to you. What is God whispering in your ear today through 2 Peter?  Write it down. Here in the comments or in a journal. (Do not worry about writing it perfectly. Do not spend two hours crafting it.  Do not pull out 3 commentaries so you have the “right answer.”) And then make it your prayer for today.


  1. (I'm such a perfectionist that I did exactly what you told me to - read each line twice, slowly). Two things really stood out for me:

    1. He has given me everything I need for life and godliness.... While I know I do not have to strive -- as a perfectionist at heart, that is what I often do - strive. But HE HAS GIVEN ME EVERYTHING I NEED TO LIVE GODLY IN CHRIST JESUS. (I wrote it in caps so I would listen to myself!)

    2. Make every effort to.... the word "effort" just slapped me right in the face. Because it means godliness takes time, that sometimes I am and sometimes I am not - but that doesn't mean that I should just throw in the towel. I should just get myself up and give it another try - it is making the effort. So (in other words) He already knows that I can't - but He knows that Christ is in me, and I'll make the effort in his strength. And baby-step by baby-step I will mature into the perfect woman He already sees me to be in Christ Jesus. :-)

    And, by the way, I would probably get there faster if I would just stop the striving and start the abiding.

    Thanks for that this morning!

  2. My identity comes from who I am in Christ. He has given me everything I need to live a life pleasing to Him. No where in these verses (or any that I know of) does it say that we have to be perfect to be loved and accepted by our Savior. Actually, it's the opposite. No one is perfect but Him and He loves us ANYWAY!
    So we may as well give it up this wanting or thinking we need perfection because we don't!

  3. Love it, Suzy and Allison.

    And I smiled at your all caps. :)

  4. Everything that I need is inside; yet, I continuously find myself looking outside for fulfillment. Why? Because I am not continuously striving to build upon the foundation that God provides when I keep the faith. Keeping the faith is not enough. I must add the next bit - goodness - then understanding - followed by self-control - ripened with patience - devotion to God - concern for others - and top it all off with love! That streamline of "events" is growth!

    AAAAAAAHHHHHHH! What revelation! It's like being perfected . . . not already being p-e-r-f-e-c-t! Thank you, Jesus. I do not have to be perfect! You only call me to become perfected as I aim for the goal, for the prize in YOU! Hallelujah!

    To not seek growth is to live in the past - stunted by sin that has been forgiven - and wallow in pits of despair.

    To seek growth is to experience life and to live it more abundantly - to be like Him!

    Rachel, I left a comment on your Monday post but must repeat something: THANK YOU for offering this series on perfectionism this week. I "just so happened" to see your link on Marybeth Whalen's blog and it really caught my eye. Your blog is a gift from God. Thank you for being His hands and ministering to my heart and soul.

    With love in Him,

    She Speaks Graduate

  5. What jumps out to me....
    Make every effort to add to your faith..... I need to actively add to my faith. Normally, my first response would be, "Oh great more to DO!" Although I know that it is not about all I DO, my tendency is to try to DO. However, he says to make every effort (it doesn't have to be perfect) and he shows that it is a continuous journey through all the days of our lives. We grow and add day by day, step by step, experience by experience.
    He has also given me everything I need for life and godliness....amazing! Just amazing!! :)
    Thank you for taking a closer look at grateful!!!

  6. Wow....the major thing that stood out for me is if I live in the Lord than I will not be ineffective, there will be a purpose to my life and I will not feel so empty and worthless all the time.

    And the part where it talks about adding brotherly love stood out to me: a clean house means nothing when you are screaming at your family to get it done before the extended family gets there and they are wondering why we have to clean under the beds and closets, really who is going to look there. Brotherly love really hit me!

  7. Karen BalkemaSeptember 30, 2010

    Faith, goodness, knowledge; and to knowledge, self-control, and to self-control, perserverence. It reminds me that with the knowledge I gain, and with what I already know I need to strive for self-control. I'm not always very good at that. But as I gain self-control He tells me to perservere, not give up, keep going. Obviously I will mess up, but I know what to do and I need to do it and keep going. Near the end he promises encouragement along the way. That is what God's word and God's Word does for us, for me. These are words much needed in my life, especially at this time.

  8. I have just read all three posts this morning as I needed to catch up. I think I became a perfectionist as a result of my childhood. I was always trying to please my mother and she seemed never to be I'd just keep going on this cycle. Then I felt I needed to please my husband as I hoping to receive love from him. I am realizing now that they are both narcissistic and no matter how perfect I try to be it will I will not be perfect enough!

    God has worked hard in my life to show me how much He loves me...just they way I am! I don't have to perform to win Hs approval. I don't have to clean up my act first...He will clean me up! I do not need to be perfect, I need to let God do the work to perfect me. I see now that my past does not define me but that God is using to Refine me!

    I love the verse: He has given me everything I need to live godly in Christ Jesus. I would never have been able to get "it" any other amount of struggling or striving on my part could have attained it for me.

    What a be drawn to Him and given everything we freely.

    Lord, help me to take my eyes off myself and keep them focused on You!

    Bless you all!

  9. This series is one I know I'll be going back to again and again. Thank you.

  10. I am new to your blog and am so happy I found you!

    The first thing that hit me when I read this passage today is that the reason He has blessed us with everything we need is so we can experience His devine nature more fully, He is so relational! I love that. And to protect us from the evil of this world, I never thought of it in this way before. Maybe being a new mom has shed a new light.

    The second thing I noticed today that I never noted before is the statment "if you do these things, YOU WILL NOT FALL." Such a relief!

    Thanks for discussing this topic. I have shared it with a few friends and pray they are blessed as I have been.


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