Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Excellence, Perfection, and Perfectionism

image from here

I have been thinking a lot about the difference between these three terms for some time mainly because  I have been pondering the balancing acts of doing what we have been called to do with excellence and doing it while keeping God at the center. Finding that balance can be so tricky in a world that values excellence based on our own strength which often creeps into perfectionism. 

I wrote this post for one of my favorite blogs called Word of Williams which outlines some preliminary thoughts I have had on this topic. Then, just this week, I began to read a book which has been on my list for some time called Father, Son, and Holy Spirit: Relationships, Roles, and Relevance. The author, Bruce Ware, outlines some terribly fascinating intricacies of the Trinity that I had not previously thought about but I remember that something jumped out me while reading that was applicable to this discussion. 

Ware was discussing the beauty of Jesus' life and specifically was talking about His relationship with the Holy Spirit. Luke 14 tells us that everything Jesus did was because He was lead by the Spirit. Ware elaborates that not only was Jesus led by the Spirit but He was living in utter obedience to the Father. He says, " Live as Jesus has lived before the Father, abiding in his truth and speaking only what the Father has taught them (pg.75)." Another part that struck me was when Ware pointed out that everything Jesus did was to ultimately bring glory to God. 

Thus, in a book that was not about excellence, perfection, or perfectionism, I was given a bit more to chew on if you will. In my guest post I made the distinction between excellence being founded in Christ and perfectionism in our own strength. Likewise, perfection must always be about our relationship with God. This section of the book then just brought more dimension to my thoughts about this... that if we are truly going to be followers of Christ then what we are doing should always bring glory to the Father. It is here then that excellence and perfectionism can be seen as the opposites they are. 

Ultimately, excellence points to the Father and perfectionism points to me. 

As I continue to live in a world where that distinction is rarely clear, I pray that I continue to do only what the Father would have me do and that everything I do would be a testimony of His greatness.