Saturday, September 15, 2012


"For am I now seeking the favor of men, or of God? Or am I striving to please men? If I were still trying to please men, I would not be a bond-servant of Christ" - Gal. 1:10
I'm watching Alabama play Arkansas this afternoon in football. Nick Saban is the coach for Alabama and is the epitome of intensity. A few weeks ago, Alabama was nearly 40 points ahead of their opponent with just seconds left in the game. An Alabama player jumped off sides and Coach Saban scolded him as though he'd lost the game. As someone said, "Coach Saban expects perfection always." That's why his teams do so well- perfection is the goal and mistakes aren't tolerated. A mistake is defined as "an error in action, calculation, opinion, or judgment caused by poor reasoning, carelessness, or insufficient knowledge." No one likes to make mistakes. We all like to get it right. But ask any politician or, for that matter, any person, and they can describe both minor and major mistakes they've made in life. The anatomy of a mistake: we make a plan, we have an expectation, we count on a particular outcome and something changes. We overlook a set of variables, we forget a step in the process and the mistake is made. It's done. And all the regret and apologies won't fix it. "But everybody makes mistakes." Every time I hear that, I cringe. I understand that that's the truth and I understand that you will occasionally make mistakes, but I tend to live in the fantasy world that I should never be less than perfect. Mistakes and the need for perfection tie into our own needs to be OK. Deep inside, we're all people-pleasers. But God holds the only report card that matters. Because of the cross, if we've accepted Jesus as our Lord, we can all pass with flying colors. Nothing we do increases our "grade" before God. Grace is free. I could fill pages with the reasons why mistakes bother me so much. I'm from a high achieving family, I'm the youngest of 3 very talented brothers, and I expect a lot out of myself. But mostly, I like to please people. Of course, there's nothing wrong with doing things correctly. We should all do our best. But motive is important. Why we do our best determines how we rebound when we make mistakes. God pleasers have a resiliency that people pleasers don't possess. People pleasers do their best to be noticed by men. If and when a people pleaser makes a mistake, they won't receive the fickle strokes that come from others. Why? The approval from others is conditional. God pleasers do their best as servants of Christ. They aren't working for the approval of men. If and when mistakes are made, they're okay because they realize that God covers mistakes with grace and forgiveness. Why? Because God's approval is unconditional. So, go ahead and do your best and try not to make mistakes, but realize that when it turns out differently than you expected, it's okay. Whether you jump offsides or not. By Eric Joseph Staples ©

No comments: