I grew up in a church that taught you could lose your salvation and at a time when legalism rather than grace was the mood in most churches. I went so far as to develop a list of "thou shalt nots" that was largely regional and temporal and thought that, as long as I obeyed those rules, I didn't have to fear losing my salvation. God performed major surgery on my heart to show I am not only dead to sin but also alive to Christ, and I should live in freedom.
Add to all of that, an abusive childhood made me think that if only I could be perfect, I would not suffer abuse. False thinking, but it branded itself on my heart.
Needless to say, perfection is word I shy away from.
But in reading about the kings, it seems like so many almost got it right. They began well until at some point late in their reigns, they slipped up. After they messed up, God sent judgment and military defeat, illness, family troubles, and in some cases, death.
In other words--unless they were perfect, all the years of their lives--they didn't please God.
I have to ask . . . if that is what God expected of the kings . . . does He expect the same thing of me today?
I've talked before about subjects I'd rather not approach. This is one I'd really rather avoid, because it hits too close to something that has had me worried upside down and inside out this week. My son confronted me about some poor choices that I've made, making me wonder if I've "squandered" my life writing. I've let so many truly important things slide in the pursuit.
I know that no man (except Jesus Christ) is perfect. I know that conviction is of God, that I will suffer the consequences of my choices, but forgiveness is mine if I but confess.
A friend shared this list with me, which helped me to see the difference between my reaction (I'm so terrible, I should stop writing altogether) to how God would correct me:
Perhaps in summary, the best strategy is to follow King Jotham's example: Jotham's strength was rooted in his steady and determined life of obedience to God. 2 Chronicles 26:6 Not perfect, but steady, determined. Perhaps I can hope for that.
P.S. The list isn't original with me. It was sent to me by Leslie Sowell, but I don't believe she wrote it either. So, thank you, anonymous encourager!