Friday, June 24, 2011

Excellence vs. Perfection

This morning I had discussion with my pastor (Michael Durham) about the differences between excellence and perfection. Afterward, I wrote down what I could remember of what he said, and now I want to share it with you.

  • Perfectionists aren't always perfectionists in every area of their life. They can actually be lazy in some areas because, if they don't think they can do that one thing (he gave the example of cleaning their room or office) perfectly, they won't even try so they don't have to face failure.
  • They spend an inordinate amount of time on a few select things or tasks trying to do them perfectly. Their other tasks and obligations suffer as a result, because either A. They do enough to get them done because they ran out of time, or, B. they don't do them at all.
  • Perfectionists often live under tremendous self-imposed pressures in trying to reach perfection.
  • That pressure and those self-imposed expectations often result in being critical of others.
  • People need to learn the balance between excellence and perfection. If you did excellent, well, satisfactory, in every area rather than spent all that time striving to make one thing perfect, you'd be more productive, less stressed, and less critical.

What I learned:
  • Perfectionism hinders productivity.
  • I don't want to do anything unless I'm sure to succeed. I don't want to face failure in anything.
  • Sports/shooting made me like that to an extent, at the least it shaped me and my thinking. Perfection is attainable in shooting, you can shoot a perfect score. I was always happy with how I did (for the most part) but never satisfied because the score may have been perfect but the performance wasn't. There was always room for improvement.
  • Life isn't a shooting match.
  • I put a ton of pressure on myself to be perfect, creating stress and miserable effects.
  • I place very high standards of expectation upon myself which transcends onto expecting the same of other people which results in being critical of them asking myself why they don't have those same expectations.
  • It's all pride.

It was really convicting and showed me a lot of myself, my sin, and my desperate need for God. 

Let's hear it for God's grace.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

My Pursuit...

Copyright 2011 Sophie McDonald

Tuesday, June 14, 2011


One of the most helpful ways of studying the Bible is breaking down individual verses, also known as unpacking. When unpacking suitcases we have to hang up the clothes individually upon return home. Likewise we want to see each verse in a Scripture passage individually before we can see how it fits in the bigger picture, the bigger passage.

This summer I'm teaching a discipleship program for girls ages 6-14, I'm calling it True Beauty. The purpose is to show these little ladies what God intended womanhood to be, how to be a lady, and to pour another layer of Gospel foundation in their lives. I pray one day each of them surrenders their hearts to God's magnificent plan for their lives, and sees that a new heart given only by the Lord at salvation is the way to true beauty.

The last two weeks we have covered Modesty in Appearance, Modesty in Speech, and this week we are talking about Modesty in Behavior. While studying today, the Lord helped me unpack a few verses in Philippians to go over with the girls tomorrow night and I wanted to share it with you as well. I hope God encourages you through it and that you see this could be a valuable tool for your own study time.

(Keep in mind as you read that I was writing this for little ladies age 6-14, but this, obviously, applies to all ages and genders)

Our foundation for the summer is:

1 Peter 3:3-4- “Do not let your adorning be external—the braiding of hair and the putting on of gold jewelry, or the clothing you wear—but let your adorning be the hidden person of the heart with the imperishable beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which in God’s sight is very precious.”

Philippians 2:3-11- “Do nothing from rivalry or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others. Have this mind in you, which was also in Christ Jesus, who, though He was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but made Himself nothing, taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. Therefore God has highly exalted Him and bestowed upon Him the name that is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.”

  • Do nothing from rivalry or conceit
    • Do not compete with others simply because you want to get back at them or because you think you can do it better than them.
  • In humility count others more significant than yourselves
    • Think for other people, how would you like to be treated in the situation they are in? Treat them that way. Be the friend you want to have.
  • Look not only to His own interests, but also to the interests of others
    • Again, do not be self-absorbed; be aware of the people around you. How can you encourage them? What are they concerned about? Be concerned about it too.
  • Have this mind in you, which was also in Christ Jesus
    • What kind of mind did Jesus have? What was Jesus’ goals in coming to earth? When God gives you a new heart, those goals become your goals. You want to live, act, talk, and be like Jesus.
  • Though He was in the form (exact essence) of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped
    • Though Christ had all the rights, privileges, and honors of being God, His attitude was not to cling to those things or His position but to be willing to give them up for a season.
    • Do not use your status in school, home, sports, anywhere, as a means of getting things for yourself. Do not abuse the rights and privileges you have, be grateful for them, but do not abuse them.
  • He made Himself nothing
    • Remember we are nothing. We are not God’s gift to creation, we are only alive because of His grace, and if Jesus made Himself nothing then we are to follow His example and remember we are nothing apart from Him.
  • Taking the form of a servant
    • We are to be a servant. Just like Jesus served others, we are to serve. Just like He gives people grace, we are to give people grace. Just like He loves people, we are to love people. Just like He gives mercy, we are to give mercy. Just like He respected the authority of His Father, we are to respect our authority.
  • Being born in the likeness of men, and being found in human form
    • When we get overwhelmed with how many responsibilities we have as ladies, this should bring us a lot of comfort; Jesus was a human. He was born the same way we were, He went through the exact same things we do, and He did it all perfectly. It can be done, but not apart from Him.
  • He humbled Himself
    • He didn’t have to have someone else humble Him, He did it Himself. Humility means you don’t hold yourself in high regard and you realize you are nothing apart from Christ.
  • By becoming obedient
    • How did Jesus humble Himself? By becoming obedient. How are we to humble ourselves? By becoming obedient. Complete submission to the Father’s will, just like Jesus, is the recipe for humility.
  • To the point of death, even death on a cross
    • Jesus wasn’t just obedient in His everyday life, but He was obedient to His Father’s wishes all the way to the cross. His Father wanted Him to be the sacrifice for sins so He did it willingly. We are to follow God the Father the same way, all the way to death if He asks us to. Why? Because it would be the best thing for us, the Father’s will is always for our good and His glory.
  • Therefore God has highly exalted Him
    • When Jesus humbled Himself, brought Himself low, made Himself nothing, God exalted Him, brought Him up, and made Him the most spectacular, beautiful person the world will ever know. Likewise, when we humble ourselves, the Lord exalts us in His own time and in His own way. Don’t you think that His exaltation is much better than our own or that of others?
  • And bestowed upon Him the name that is above every name
    • Not only did God the Father exalt His Son after His willful obedience, but He also exalted His name- He gave Him the name that is above every name! When complete and willing obedience to the Father is given, His plans for our lives turn out so much better than we could ever imagine for ourselves.
  • So that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord
    • The Father’s plan in sending Jesus was for Him to die for our sins and redeem the fallen world, but also to show His excellency. This is our mission too. We want to behave and act in a way that follows Jesus because we want the world to see Jesus! We want every knee to bow in heaven and on earth and under the earth and we want every tongue to confess that Jesus Christ is Lord! That is the heart of a Christian, and that is the heart that has a gentle and quiet spirit.
  • To the glory of God the Father
    • This is the reason Jesus did everything: for His Father’s glory. That is the reason we are to do everything. Everything we do should bring our heavenly Father glory. If it doesn’t, we shouldn’t do it. Modest behavior will always exude a gentle and quiet spirit, and a gentle and quiet spirit will always bring God glory. 
Cultivating a gentle and quiet spirit,


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