Let's say you pop into the local book store to pick up a present for a kid in your life. You are met with book after book that teaches children this tattered tenet:
Have you heard this idea anywhere? I know I have. My kids are certainly getting an unhealthy dose of it. A quick search on Amazon reveals over 1,000 results for those keywords. The majority look to be children's books, but there are plenty for all ages.
Is this really what I want my kid to learn? Is my four-year-old really perfect just the way he is? We're still working on hygiene, toilet habits, finishing dinner, not throwing fits, and about a hundred other things. If this is what perfection looks like, well, that's just disappointing.
If he is perfect the way he is, then I can retire from parenting. Sure, he'll go off to college wearing diapers and sucking his pacifier, but he's perfect just the way he is. He shouldn't have to change anything, right?
It isn't just kids hearing this message, either. Popular music, movies, and TV shows rehash this idiom constantly for people of all ages. It is one of society's big lies. So, let's challenge it with Biblical truth.
No matter how perfect a kid seems, they're not. Neither are you. Don't forget what King David, one of the Bible's spiritual heroes, said about himself:
...I was sinful at birth, sinful from the time my mother conceived me.Psalm 51:5
Even King David was broken and sinful from the moment his life began. His brightest acts of Godliness were mixed with the dark shadows of sin. It wasn't just King David either. The apostle Paul said:
All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God...Romans 3:23
So, you're not perfect, and neither is any kid. You're sinful and broken. Pretty heavy, right? It is, but another puzzle piece of truth is crucial.
Just because you're broken doesn't mean God doesn't love you. …For God so loved the world… remember? He loves us so much that He sacrificed His Son for the world's salvation.
Everyone likes to hear that God loves us, but the next part isn't as popular.
Now, wait a minute. I thought you said God loves me as I am. Why would he ask me to change if he loves me?
Here is why this lie is so insidious. It has crept in the back door and rearranged the library. It has markered out dictionary entries and rewritten definitions. It's left us questioning the meaning of a word as fundamental as love.
What's the best way for Dad to love his son? Is it to tell him, "You're perfect the way you are. You don't need to change?" No way! We apply pressure until our kids alter. We make their lives uncomfortable if they resist the transformation. We reward them when they make the metamorphoses we expect. Loving parents shouldn't train their kids to think they are perfect. Godly people should tell themselves they are perfect.
We must embrace the change God, our Heavenly Father, wants us to experience. The Apostle Paul summed up the Christian life well when he said:
Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind…Romans 12:2
God loves you, but He expects you to change. He wants you to be transformed. He desires you to leave this life different, better, and more excellent than you were when you started. He will use His impressive resources to move you in the right direction. He'll gently nudge when you're willing, but He'll discipline you when you resist.
If you're a believer, there is a universe of opportunity for you to grow. We'll explore how in future posts, but for now, remember this:
Society tells you, "You are perfect the way you are, don't change." the Bible demonstrates, "God loves you too much to ignore your need for change."
You're not perfect the way you are. You need to be different from how you've been. Embrace the change God wants to begin in you. He will conclude your transformation when this life is complete.