Shed the mask of perfection and embrace the beauty of our flaws. Join me as we explore how doubt and imperfections aren’t roadblocks, but stepping stones that draw us closer to the Lord.

References to Bible Verses:

2 Corinthians 12:7-9; Philippians 3:13-14; Matthew 13:31-32; Proverbs 4:18; Psalms 139:14; James 1:2-4

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Transcript

Welcome back, listeners. My name is Jason and I am your host. Forget about those shiny trophies and airbrushed smiles because we're going to take a detour off the perfection highway into the messy yet glorious adventure of real faith. Under those layers of what should have been lies the roadmap to an authentic and joyful walk with God.

In this episode, I hope to help you shed that mask of perfection and embrace the beauty of our flaws. Yep, you heard me right. We'll explore how doubt and imperfections aren't roadblocks, but stepping stones that can draw us closer to the Lord. So kick off your shoes, unless you're driving, and join me on this journey of faith.

Come with me as we celebrate growth through trials, because when you and I embrace our imperfections. We can discover what a wonderful journey we're really on.

Jason: Dear God, I am a sinner. I'm sorry for my sin. Please forgive me. I believe Jesus Christ is your son and that he died for my sins and you resurrected him. I want to invite him into my heart to take control of my life. In Jesus name I pray. Amen.

That is a sinner's prayer, or at least one version of it. It's the words that we say to commit ourselves to Christ and to accept his gift of salvation. Now, I've often seen or heard the question, how do I become a Christian? How do I get saved? And the answer begins with that prayer. After that, discipleship is the next step, finding a church or a spiritual mentor who can guide you into your faith. But understand this, saying the words on its own does nothing. A true sinner's prayer has to present what we really understand, and that we believe our sinful nature needs salvation.

As I begin this episode, I urge you to remember that we are all sinners, and God understands that. Which is why he sent us a savior.

I'd like you to visualize something with me. Take a moment to imagine a luxurious, gorgeous porcelain vase. Sitting there, glimmering in the light with every curve and surface a reflection of beauty. Now, imagine a crude clay pot. Maybe has some fingerprints from the maker, cracks around the sides, and with flawed and asymmetrical dimensions. Which of these vessels would receive more praise? Which one would you want in your house? Now, in this world, the porcelain vase would probably be everyone's choice, but God sees beauty in the absence of perfection.

You and I, we live in this world, and we Christians are bombarded with this image of a perfect faith. And I'm sure you've seen other Christians out there who can recite these beautiful prayers, they say all the right Christian words, their families are the envy of all, and they make it look effortless. But trying to pursue this level of perfection is quite burdensome, leaving you and I feeling more like the clay pot than the porcelain vase. But the vase is the idol the world worships, and God doesn't, he doesn't expect us to reach that unattainable goal of a perfect life. In fact, I think he wants us to embrace our imperfections because in between those cracks and crevices is where His grace shines the brightest.

2 Corinthians 12:9 teaches us this, "But he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness. Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ's power may rest on me." I'm going to leave that verse right there for now, but we will circle back to it towards the end of this episode.

But here's the thing, God didn't seek perfect men to act as his instruments. Moses struggled with his stuttering tongue, something I can definitely relate to, but he was chosen to lead a nation. David was a flawed king, but he was loved by God, despite his failings. Paul was a persecutor turned missionary. These are great men of the Bible, but they weren't flawless vessels. They were chosen by God. And it was those very imperfections that demonstrated the transformative power of God's love.

It's okay if you don't reach perfection by this world's standards. Just rest in your imperfections and invite Christ to join you there. We need to stop comparing our cracked vessels with others and turn our face towards the Maker. The one who molds us with purpose and love. Celebrate the progress you do make and the scars that testify to your journey. For within those imperfections we find authenticity, vulnerability, and ultimately a much deeper connection with the God who loves us. Cracks and all.

When I was a kid, I remember in one of my classes, we planted a seed. And day after day, I nurtured it, watered it, made sure it had plenty of sun. I even talked to it. Every day, I would run to see if my seed was becoming a plant. And day after day, nothing. Then one day, a tiny sprout peeked through the soil, and man was I excited.

The tiniest bit of growth, but it was growth! And finally, all of my work and effort started to show progress. This is the image of spiritual growth. Now we yearn for immediate transformation. We want it now. We want to pray to be a better person, better father, husband, friend, a better Christian. Yet we wake up and it feels like nothing has changed, and we get frustrated, right?

Until one day you start to see the tiniest bit of growth inside of yourself. One day we begin to see the fruits of our efforts, and one day that tiny seed might turn into a giant tree. But it takes time. And it takes effort and consistency. Sorry guys, this isn't a one and done, it's not an overnight thing.

We like to fixate on those big milestones, right? Baptism, witnessing, leading a ministry, or leading a bible study. And these are definitely moments we should celebrate. But don't overlook the little growth that happens every day when we whisper a prayer, or forgive that other driver for cutting us off instead of, well, waving at them, if you know what I mean.

Apostle Paul reminds us to acknowledge the value of every step forward in Philippians 3:13-14. "Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it, but one thing I do, forgetting what is behind and straining towards what is ahead, I press on towards the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus."

Look, whether you're moving forward at a snail's pace or you're sprinting forward like a spiritual gazelle, acknowledge that you're moving forward! Do you remember the parable of the mustard seed in Matthew 13:31-32? "The kingdom of heaven is like a mustard seed, which a man took and planted in his field. Though it is the smallest of all seeds, yet when it grows, it is the largest of garden plants and becomes a tree, so that the birds come and perch in its branches." Now, the small size of the mustard seed represents humble beginnings, much like the beginning of Christ and the apostles. Yet, the seed grows to be a large plant, even a tree, and like Christ and his teachings, it shows incredible potential for growth. Now, what's interesting is that Jesus exaggerated the growth of the mustard seed a bit. Normally, they don't grow beyond maybe a large bush. And they rarely ever become an actual tree with bark and a trunk. Yet, when the environment is just right, It really can grow into a large tree.

Faith in Jesus provides that perfect environment for our spiritual growth. Proverbs 4:18 teaches us, "The path of the righteous is like the morning sun shining ever brighter till the full light of day." You and I grow in our faith. The light of Christ shines upon us more and more, and will foster more growth, and it will start with the tiniest bit of faith, with a mustard seed of faith.

God wants us to celebrate the gradual unfolding of His purpose in our lives. That slow movement forward to become more like Christ every day. Every single act of kindness, every moment of self control, every tear shed in repentance, these are all seeds planted within the soil of our souls, destined to grow into something remarkable.

So instead of watching the clock, waiting for these grand spiritual breakthroughs, why don't you and I cultivate our own growth towards Christ? Keep a journal of your small victories, record those moments you felt closer to God, and look for more ways to grow yourself spiritually. Maybe share your progress with a close friend or a spiritual mentor. And don't just celebrate the mountaintops, but every stone leading to greater heights, every step closer to God.

Now sometimes we trip and we stumble backwards, and that's okay too. We're flawed, we're sinners, and we need God. So celebrate those twists and turns, celebrate the opportunity to get back up and start walking again. Always keep your eyes on Christ and share your journey with others because you just might be someone else's muster seed. Or you may help inspire another to grow in faith in a way they never considered before.

Now, because you and I are flawed, our journey is going to be flawed too. But that really is what makes life so important and how we gain so much wisdom. Going back to my clay pot example, every crack and blemish has a story. Just like you and me, every imperfection is a lesson that we've lived through. And these lessons are often filled with emotions and memories. But more importantly they are filled with wisdom. We laugh, we shed tears, we experience moments of quiet solace. This is the beauty in embracing our imperfections. With God in our lives they become vessels of light, revealing the deep and authentic journey we've walked.

Now, I don't know about you, but at times I find myself equating imperfection to failure, but God doesn't see it that way. For him, these are opportunities for grace. Take, for example, Psalms 139:14, where the psalmist says, "I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made."

Does God celebrate our achievements? Probably. But our imperfections are not roadblocks to God's love. They are detours on our life journey. But his love won't ever fail us. If you don't believe me, read Psalms 136.

So the Japanese have a form of art known as kintsugi, which means golden joinery. They repair broken pottery by mending the broken parts using a lacquer dusted or mixed with a powdered gold, silver, or platinum. They look at these cracks and broken pieces as part of the history of an object rather than something to be discarded.

This is how I see our own lives. You and I have broken and cracked moments, but that doesn't mean we should be discarded. Instead, we will be repaired by the glory of God to make something even more beautiful and more valuable than ever before.

In the book of James, it reminds us in James 1:2-4, "Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let Perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking in anything."

Trials and setbacks are a part of life. They're not divine punishment. They are opportunities for our faith to be refined the same way gold is refined in fire. Trials are inevitable. It's not if we face a trial, it's when we face trials.

Now, other translations, like the New King James Version, say, "When you fall into various trials" which paints an interesting picture, but it seems much more fitting. We don't often slowly walk or saunter our way into trials in our lives. The ground gives way and we plummet into problems.

I think it's important to remind you that faith is not produced by trials. They reveal what faith we have. And I know people like to say God is testing my faith, but in truth, God doesn't need to test anything. What I think these trials do for us is it makes it evident to us and those around us what faith we really have. And this gives us an opportunity to strengthen it.

Now, I touched on 2 Corinthians 12 earlier in this episode, specifically verse 9, but let's take a step backwards so that you can understand the full context of it. So, in 2 Corinthians 12, Paul speaks of a thorn in the flesh, and he refers to it as a messenger of Satan. Now, commentaries have theorized about what this thorn could be. Is it anxiety? Is it some opponent in ministry, or maybe a physical malady, like maybe partial blindness as a consequence of his Damascus Road experience?

Truthfully, what the thorn is, it's really of no consequence. But it is a persistent pain of some sort to him. Now, 2 Corinthians 12:7, Paul explains this thorn is there to keep him from becoming conceited. Then in 2 Corinthians 12:8-9, Paul explains, "Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from me, but he said to me, My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness. Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ's power may rest on me."

Let that sink in for just a moment. "I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ's power may rest on me." Wow. Paul begged and pleaded with the Lord to remove this thorn, this messenger of Satan, and God said, No.

Why? Because His grace is enough. His power is perfect, and our weakness we don't have to overcome. He does that, and we just have to have faith. Those physical and emotional scars we have should not be hidden. They are symbols of God's strength in our weakness, and God's grace overcoming our limitations.

So celebrate them. Tell stories about them. Use them as testament to what God has done in your life. These cracks aren't broken parts of you. They're openings for God's grace. Embrace your imperfections. They are wonderful and unique brushstrokes that paint your authentic story. Once you embrace these imperfections, you will discover a joy that transcends any pursuit of perfection. A joy that is rooted in the unshakable truth that you are God's child, and he loves you.

Jason: Thank you for joining me on this journey. I hope God's joy fills your heart today. Remember that the pursuit of perfection is a thing of this world. Set there to draw you away from authentic growth in God's life. Embrace the cracks in your clay pot.

The scars etched into your heart. And let God mend them. Because they are the very thing that holds the story of your transformation. So when you feel like you've fallen down and are facing trials, let the mustard seed continue to grow within you. Remember this, in your imperfections, God does not find flaws to mend, but a canvas on which He can and will paint His extraordinary grace.

These challenges we face aren't simply storms to be weathered, but opportunities to refine your faith and make it more resilient. I hope you've enjoyed this episode. Please like and subscribe to my podcast. Leave me a review, because your opinion matters. Visit my website at https://myministrymission.com and be sure to check out the show notes for important links.

Until next time, may the Lord bless you and keep you. God bless everyone.