“I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it… I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 3:13-14
Have you noticed no matter how hard you try, a little voice inside you finds fault? Sometimes it sounds like your own, or it may be the voice of someone impossible to please. You must learn how to handle that negative commentary, or it will drain the joy out of your present and plant spikes under every step in your future. You are daily aware of how far short you fall from God’s standard, and that keeps you humble, but the condemnation part has nothing to do with Him. Growth is what is pleasing to the Lord! No, you’re not as far along as you’d like to be (who is?) but if you have moved forward and improved in any way, God is pleased with you.
Don’t get the idea that Jesus saved you from Hell, but the rest is up to you. This is not about acquiring a holy hernia trying to please God. Jesus did the heavy lifting at the cross. Like a steroid, His Holy Spirit empowers you to accomplish what you never could without Him. The approval you want from God is already there, but the pleasure of God is a daily cultivation; not a giant beanstalk that sprouts overnight. Perfectionism will tell you otherwise, but don’t you believe it! Spiritual laziness is the other extreme, it’s a liar too. The balance is not easy to find, but it’s address is always at the feet of Jesus where He’ll center you while communing with you, but never chide you.
If God were to visibly mark the trail your life has taken, it would not be a straight line. No, there would be detours and backtracks, places you skipped and spots you stayed in too long. It’s ok. He offers forgiveness, and He grades on how many times you recalculated and got back on track. It looks sloppy on a map, but if you’re moving toward Him instead of away, then it’s sloppy beautiful. Gag that inner critic with this truth: Good and faithful servants aren’t flawless ones nor do they aim to hear “Perfectly done,” but “Well done.”