Finding Freedom from the Fear of Failure and of Being Imperfect - Part 1
Updated: Dec 22, 2018
Recently, I believe the Lord showed me that I had to put on the belt of truth so that my spiritual loins could be healed and fullness of intimacy with Him be made possible. This would also enable Him to conceive in me what He desires to conceive in me. I believe He led me to Derek Prince’s book, Lucifer Exposed, page 59, where the author elaborates on the meaning of the belt of truth which is part of the armor that God supplies to us, “We must be ruthlessly honest with ourselves and, as the Holy Spirit leads, with other people. We cannot encumber ourselves with religious clichés. They are a terrible hindrance if we want to be truly committed Christians. We cannot hide behind religious talk; we have to be sincere.”
It is important to be honest with ourselves and with God and not to hide in fear if we want to receive forgiveness, deliverance, healing and restoration. Legalism causes us to want to hide for fear to be condemned and rejected if we do not possess or display perfection. Furthermore, legalism always demands us to be at a higher level of holiness than where we are now. We may be at level three in love and level two in faith, but legalism is not satisfied, because we should be operating at level seven and eight, or actually we should be operating at level ten! It always brings the sense that we are not enough. It usually causes us to put on a façade, a spiritual mask, so that if we don’t measure up within, perhaps, we can, as much as possible, measure up without. It is a merciless place―a place where there is no life, no color, and no joy. Religious perfectionism is a major hindrance to progress.
Jesus did not waste any words when He addressed the experts in the law of His day. Here is an excerpt of Jesus’ blunt words in Luke 11:46 AMPC: “But He said, Woe to you, the lawyers, also! For you load men with oppressive burdens hard to bear, and you do not personally [even gently] touch the burdens with one of your fingers.” In contrast, grace will take us as we are and will help us make progress. Under grace, it is understood that the change will happen over a period of time and not all at once. If it were not so, a genuine work of the heart wouldn’t be possible. God is the only one who can mold and shape our hearts. We do need to cooperate with Him as He transforms us within; and we do that by believing that He is working in us even when we do not see immediate results and by yielding to His molding. We also cooperate by studying and applying His Word and by praying. That way, we are being transformed as our mind is renewed. This represents the time and the effort that we put in. Then, as He does the work in us, we begin to work out what He is doing inwardly.
Here is another of Jesus’ strong rebuke to the religious leaders of His day, found in Matthew 23:25-26 AMP: “Woe to you, [self-righteous] scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you clean the outside of the cup and of the plate, but inside they are full of extortion and robbery and self-indulgence (unrestrained greed). You [spiritually] blind Pharisee, first clean the inside of the cup and of the plate [examine and change your inner self to conform to God’s precepts], so that the outside [your public life and deeds] may be clean also.” As we can see from the aforementioned Scripture, unless we open up in honesty and face the truth about our inner condition, our religion is reduced to mere hypocrisy―outward performance. The Gospel is the good news. It frees us to come to God just as we are, without condemnation and without fear, and it opens the door for God to examine our heart thoroughly. Under grace, we are invited to let God forgive, heal and restore us in our innermost parts. Then the outward will follow. As a child of God, we are in the process of becoming what we already are. And the Bible says that we are the righteousness of God in Christ. I love Hebrews 10:14 which teaches us that by a single offering (which is Jesus on the cross), we have been made perfect forever those who are made holy. It is a new covenant.
Jesus said in Matthew 5:48 AMPC, “You, therefore, must be perfect [growing into complete maturity of godliness in mind and character, having reached the proper height of virtue and integrity], as your heavenly Father is perfect.” The Amplified Classic Edition version of the Bible describes perfection as “growing”. During my recovery from legalism/religious OCD (scrupulosity), when I was in prayer, I asked the Lord, “How can you love us so much when we are so messed up?” Immediately the Lord spoke to me as a word came to me from my spirit. The word was hunger. God is not looking for perfection. What God is looking for is hunger—hunger for Him, hunger for righteousness. Jesus said in Matthew 5:6 KJV, “Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled.” Therefore, let us, by grace, pursue holiness with our whole heart and let us hunger for righteousness, but let us not forget that what God is looking for first and foremost is hunger, not perfect performance. There is a difference between godly perfection and legalistic “perfection”.
In conclusion, God is a God of the heart. Certainly His yoke is easy and His burden is light. Let us make the difference between a perfect heart and a perfect performance. Repentance doesn’t mean perfection. Repentance means to come into agreement with God concerning sin, to turn from our sins and to begin to walk in the opposite direction―toward perfection. The Bible clearly shows that the merciful will receive mercy. If there is room for us to receive mercy, it is because we are not perfect, or else mercy wouldn’t be needed. God has called us to enjoy the journey while we are on it. He who has called us unto Himself is faithful; He will hallow and keep us. Let us trust God to deliver us from our enemies―from temptations, weaknesses and sin. Then will we be truly changed from the inside out and empowered to live the victorious life we have always wanted to live. Be encouraged dear one, there is hope! There is a way out. (To be continued in part 2)
 See Ephesians 6:11-17.
 See Romans 12:2.
 See Philippians 2:12-13.
 See 2 Corinthians 5:21.
 See Hebrews 10:14.
 See Matthew 11:28-30.
 See Matthew 5:7.
 See 1 Thessalonians 5:24 AMPC.