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  • Writer's pictureKathleen Kaczmarek

Finding Freedom from the Fear of Failure and of Being Imperfect - Part 2

I believe looking at 2 Chronicles 16:9 from different Bible versions also helps shine some light on the perfection God is looking for:

“For the eyes of the Lord run to and fro throughout the whole earth, to shew himself strong in the behalf of them whose heart is perfect toward him. Herein thou hast done foolishly: therefore from henceforth thou shalt have wars.”

—2 Chronicles 16:9 KJV (emphasis mine)

Now let’s read the same Scripture but from the Amplified version of the Bible:

“For the eyes of the Lord move to and fro throughout the earth so that He may support those whose heart is completely His. You have acted foolishly in this; therefore, from now on you will have wars.””

—2 Chronicles 16:9 AMP (emphasis mine)

We can see from the Amplified version and from other versions of the Bible that a perfect heart is a heart that is completely God’s. In other words, it is a heart that is wholeheartedly committed to God; a loyal heart. And a heart which is loyal, or fully devoted to Him, is a heart that totally trusts in Him. How do I draw this conclusion? I draw this conclusion from verses 7 and 8 of the same chapter of the same book, 2 Chronicles 16, and it is also harmoniously in line with the Gospel message―which prescribes a righteousness that is of faith:

“At that time Hanani the seer came to Asa king of Judah and said to him, Because you relied on the king of Syria and not on the Lord your God, the army of the king of Syria has escaped you. Were not the Ethiopians and Libyans a huge host with very many chariots and horsemen? Yet because you relied then on the Lord, He gave them into your hand. For the eyes of the Lord run to and fro throughout the whole earth to show Himself strong in behalf of those whose hearts are blameless toward Him. You have done foolishly in this; therefore, from now on you shall have wars.”

—2 Chronicles 16:7-9 AMPC (emphasis added)

We can see from these verses that when king Asa relied on the Lord to help him defeat his enemies, he pleased God and the Lord delivered his enemies into his hand. Hence, as long as King Asa placed his trust in God, God declared him blameless. However, when king Asa later chose to place his trust in the arms of flesh, his enemies escaped him and he was told he would suffer wars from now on—his heart was not blameless before the Lord. By the same token, always remember that we are justified and made acceptable to God through faith and not by works, lest any man should boast.[1] Let us make the distinction between a perfect heart and a perfect performance.

For years I wondered about Romans 8:1 KJV: “There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.” I just couldn’t understand it. In the first part of the verse, God was telling me that there was no condemnation for me, but in the second part of the same verse He was telling me that if I walked in the flesh I was condemned. Well, I knew that I still sinned, not willingly, but I did sin; so didn’t that mean that each time I sinned it was because I was in the flesh? Did it mean that I fell under condemnation each time I sinned? It seemed to suggest that I must be perfect all the time or I was in trouble. So much for trying to make me feel good with the first part of Romans 8:1, the second part canceled it all out!

One day I asked the Lord to explain to me what it meant, and He did. The revelation came while I was musing over Romans 8:1 KJV:

“There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.”

Then, my thoughts drifted to Galatians 3:3 AMPC:

“Are you so foolish and so senseless and so silly? Having begun [your new life spiritually] with the [Holy] Spirit, are you now reaching perfection [by dependence] on the flesh?”

This is when the light went on. Thank you, Lord! I get it! To walk after the Spirit means to live in dependence on the Spirit. And to walk after the flesh means to live in dependence on the flesh. O what a revelation! This means that we are free to depend on Him to perfect us, to make us what we ought to be, to make us right! It means that we can now depend on Him to mold us and to shape us into Christ’s image. It means that we can depend on Him to do the work in us that only He can do. It means that we can depend on Him to complete that which He started in us.[2] Condemnation pronounces us guilty and brings a wedge between us and God. However, Christ is the bridge to cross over to God. Accordingly, the Bible says that we are to walk by faith and not by sight.[3] Therefore, receiving the free gift of righteousness is walking in the Spirit. Trusting Him to make us what we ought to be is walking in the Spirit. Running to Christ for forgiveness when we sin, instead of coming under condemnation, is walking in the Spirit. Trusting that we are saved by His grace alone through faith and not relying on our human effort and ability to make ourselves acceptable to Him is walking in the Spirit.

Consequently, anytime we submit ourselves to a law and try in our own human effort not to sin is actually when we walk in the flesh. It is so important for us to get this: as born-again believers in Christ, when we allow condemnation to separate us from God, we are living a flesh-led life, not a Spirit-led life. This is why it is crucial that we do not entertain condemnation. Wow! When we are under condemnation, isn’t it because we depend on our own strength to do it, but we fail? However, when we depend on God to do it, there is no room for condemnation, because we do not rely on ourselves but on Christ. Let us therefore be reconciled with the Father through faith in Christ and not through faith in our own ability to do everything perfectly right.[4] Then, the fruit of righteousness will naturally flow from our faith in Christ and His work at the cross.

We need to understand the difference between conviction and condemnation. You can know whether you are under condemnation or under conviction by the effect it has on you. Condemnation strengthens sin and keeps you in bondage to it so that you cannot get out. Condemnation keeps you in defeat. On the other hand, conviction brings with it the grace needed to overcome. You will never overcome sin by placing yourself under a load of condemnation; nor will you ever help anyone overcome sin by placing them under a load of condemnation. Doing so will only discourage them all the more and cause more damage. It is crucial that we understand it is the goodness of God that leads men to repentance, not His anger.[5]

In conclusion, God is pleased with the heart that trusts Him.[6] It follows that the trusting heart will habitually yield to God’s leading.[7] Essentially, the same way we were saved is the same way we ought to live—by faith. Now, someone whose heart is fully God’s is someone whose heart is hot for God.[8] Naturally, someone who is hot for God will hunger and thirst for righteousness. And someone who hungers and thirsts for righteousness is bound to make progress. Someone who hungers and thirsts for holiness is bound to change. When we love God, obedience will naturally follow.[9] What is the command Jesus gave us, found in His Word? That we may love one another as He loved us.[10] Anyone who loves their brother and sister lives in the light, and there is nothing in them to make them stumble.[11] Be encouraged dear one, Christ is your righteousness,[12] and He will complete in you what He started.[13] You can rest assured of this very thing―there is hope! There is a way out.

[1] See Romans 5:1 and Ephesians 2:8-9.

[2] See Philippians 1:6.

[3] See 2 Corinthians 5:7.

[4] See Romans 5:1.

[5] See Romans 2:4 NKJV.

[6] See Hebrews 11:6.

[7] See Romans 8:14.

[8] See Revelation 3:16.

[9] See John 14:15. If you read this verse from the NKJV, make sure to look at the footnote. If you are reading from the KJV, I encourage you to also look at other versions. Most add “you will keep (or obey)”.

[10] See John 13:34.

[11] 1 John 2:10 NIV (according to the EXB Bible version, this Scripture can either mean that he “will not cause anyone to stumble in his faith [or he will not stumble in his faith”). Also see 2 Peter 1:3-11 and Galatians 5:22-23.

[12] See 1 Corinthians 1:30.

[13] See Philippians 1:6.

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