It is All Yours
The Chelsea Flower Show may well be the most famous flower show in the world. It attracts visitors from all continents.
There are four grades of award presented, Gold, Silver-Gilt, Silver and Bronze. As well as awards for gardens and flowers, the Knightian award is for exhibits of vegetables.
I once heard a man being interviewed about the fact that he was retiring after winning the gold medal for his vegetables for ten years in a row. Asked for the secret of his success, he said, 'I aim for perfection. But I settle for excellence.'
'Aim for perfection' (2 Corinthians 13:11), writes the apostle Paul. This is very different from 'perfectionism'. Perfectionism is a personality trait characterised by striving for flawlessness. It leads to setting excessively high performance standards. Perfectionists are overly critical of themselves and constantly concerned about what others think of them. It leads to a fear of failure and making mistakes. It can lead to depression, anxiety and missed opportunities.
God's people have always been called to aim high (while avoiding the dangers of perfectionism). God gave to his people in the Old Testament a wonderful vision of their potential inheritance. It is all yours in Christ Jesus.
PROVERBS 8:22-311. Aim to be full of joy
Jesus wants you to be full of joy. He wants you to experience complete joy. He said, 'I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete' (John 15:11).
The description of personified Wisdom in today's passage is echoed in the way the New Testament talks about Jesus. Jesus 'was with God in the beginning' (John 1:2) (compare Proverbs 8:23,30).
Wisdom is seen to be full of joy: 'Day after day I was there, with my joyful applause, always enjoying his company, delighted with the world of things and creatures, happily celebrating the human family' (Proverbs 8:30b–31, MSG).
This joy is overflowing – 'filled with delight' (v.30). It is constant – 'day after day' (v.30). Where does this joy come from?
First, it comes from God's presence ('in his presence', v.30). Second, it comes from relationships with other people ('the human family', v.31, MSG). Third, it comes from God's creation ('world of things and creatures', v.31, MSG). God has given us all good things richly to enjoy (1 Timothy 6:17). It is all yours in Christ Jesus.
The joy that Jesus experienced in his relationship with God the Father strengthened him in his life on earth. Fix your 'eyes on Jesus… who for the joy set before him endured the cross' (Hebrews 12:2–3). Jesus teaches us to aim high with our own lives, never just 'making do' but enduring hardships and always seeking the joy of God's presence.
Lord, thank you that you want your joy to be in me and my joy to be complete. May I never settle for anything less.
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