Devotion for the Week...
My quilts are not perfect. Though you have to look closely to notice, some seams don't match up exactly. When pieced, my blocks may not be exact square and I often have to ease in excess fabric on one side as I join blocks together to assemble the quilt top. Maybe this is why I don't do carpentry - it would be much harder to fudge it if my materials were rigid and incapable of being eased in.
I would love for my quilts to be perfect. I always try my best, but I'm content with what I call 'good enough.' Though the seams at the center of a pinwheel block may not be perfect, they are close enough that I don't feel the need to take it apart and fix it. It's good enough for me.
I will also admit I feel a certain satisfaction when I come across a published photo of a quilt where I can spot an imperfection. Not because I enjoy picking out mistakes, but because I feel a certain kinship with this other quilter who is also content with 'good enough.'
I think many quilters embrace the 'good enough.' quilt. Unfortunately, 'good enough' isn't good enough for any of us to be accepted into Heaven.
Jesus said, "Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect." (Matthew 5:48) Yikes! I can't even make perfect quilts, let alone make my entire life perfect. I'm sure you struggle too. After all, the apostle Paul wrote, "for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God." (Romans 3:23) We recognize this, of course. People often say, 'I'm not perfect.' We accept this as the normal state of all people - not perfect. We don't even have to work at remembering it because people say or do things that hurt us, our kids have moments of selfishness or rebellion, and we ourselves say or do things we regret. The evidence of our imperfection is all around us.
So what do we do? As a quilter I can pin more to help my seams match up. I can check measurements a second time before cutting, I can check my seams to be sure they're accurate before moving on to another seam. All of these things will improve my piecing. Gradually, with practice and diligence, my quilts will get closer to perfect.
But what about my life? Paul wrote to the Galatians, "So I say, live by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the sinful nature." (Galatians 5:16) He also wrote, "Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the sinful nature with its passions and desires. Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit." (Galatians 5:24, 25)
Live by the Spirit? Keep in step with the Spirit? It sounds beautiful, but how do we do it? Unfortunately, it's not easy. It requires a day-by-day, moment-by-moment decision to choose God's will over my own will. That doesn't come naturally. My will tries to assert itself quite often - when I've heard a good story about someone and really want to pass it on, even though I know it's just gossip. Or when I'm tired and tempted to respond to my boys with impatience and anger over little things when I know they deserve grace and patience. I know God's will for me in those moments - to keep the gossip, the impatience or the anger to myself - but I don't always manage to do that.
Sometimes I do and in those moments there is a sweet feeling of peace. I'm not fighting the Spirit. I'm keeping in step with the Spirit and for a moment I feel my life is one teeny-tiny step closer to perfect.
Have you ever worked on a block you just couldn't get right? Over and over you sewed it, only to rip the stitches right back out? I certainly have, and before long I wanted to toss it aside. What truly amazes me is that, no matter how many times I react to something in a way that isn't in step with the Spirit, God has no desire to toss me aside or leave me as I am. Because God is perfect and because He is faithful, He can and will make me perfect.
"May God himself, the God of peace, sanctify you through and through. May your whole spirit, soul and body by kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. The one who calls you is faithful and he will do it." (1 Thessalonians 5:23, 24)
What an amazing hope to cling to. One of these days, when Jesus returns, we who trust in Him will be made eternally, completely perfect, just as He is.