In Perfection August 2018
There is a Frank Lloyd Wright calendar on my wall. Printed many years ago, the dates and the days of the week only line up once in every seven years. Each page has 5 inch high letters of that month, now showing as August, and a rendering of one of FLW‘s designed homes or public buildings. I keep it up there to remind me what month we are in.
It would be easy for me to decide not to use it for six of the seven years. Since my purpose is only to see FLW‘s beautiful work, and understand which month we are in, it is useful to me regardless of the accuracy of the days and dates. Sometimes a thing that seems useless actually has value. That value comes from what we believe about it.
I find it interesting that so many atheists and even some Christians misunderstand the basic premise of what Jesus had to say. He never said we had to be perfect for Him to love us and to save us from our sins. The first three fourths of the Christian Bible are actually the books of the Hebrew Bible. Those pages reveal over 600 rules to follow and the consequences that fell on those who did not.
Only in the New Testament, those books written after the birth of Jesus, do we see a love that transcends our behavior. It explains that we do not earn our salvation, our ticket to heaven, by reaching some form of perfection. We get there because Christ loved us. We get there because He sacrificed His life for ours.
This concept of us having to be perfect is not what He asked for. So many people have it backwards. It is not “do good works and get the reward.” It is – accept the gift of Jesus love and your heart will be changed to do those good things that he talks about, like loving others unconditionally.
What could you or I possibly do to impress the Creator of the entire universe? No, we merely accept who Jesus was, our heart is changed, and we decide to conduct our actions in way a that is more pleasing to Him than what we did before. It is not the other way around where we have to do what He wants, and then He will love us, and save us, and make a home for us in Heaven.
Accepting Jesus is the beginning of the process. The other way, the wrong concept, is Him accepting us for what we have done by the end of the process. I die and while sitting in Heaven, Jesus says, “OK, this fellow was good enough; he gets to come in.” That is not what He said. No, He says, “Believe in Me and you will be saved” at the beginning of the process. Then the good works come out of us because of our changed heart and our gratitude for what He has done for us.
The original days and dates of that FLW calendar do not match up this year, but because that perfection is not important to me, I find value in it. God can use us from the very beginning of our faith because he doesn’t need excellence. He just needs a willing heart ready to work for Him.
I do not toil to earn Heaven. I toil from gratitude precisely because I cannot earn Heaven. God has promised it to me though I don’t deserve it. He keeps His promises.