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Not Ideal - A Devotion

Not Ideal
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Romans 12:2 (AMP)
Do not be conformed to this world (this age), [fashioned after and adapted to its external, superficial customs], but be transformed (changed) by the [entire] renewal of your mind [by its new ideals and its new attitude], so that you may prove [for yourselves] what is the good and acceptable and perfect will of God, even the thing which is good and acceptable and perfect [in His sight for you].

My life is not ideal. Looking around at this hospital room, sitting on the couch that will be my bed, looking through the rail at our son who is spending his time in a place that is not where he should be as a 22-year-old college student, I again feel that our life is not ideal. I have a conception of life in its perfection and this is certainly not it. I have had my idea of “ideal” changed many times in my life. Like any girl, I dreamed of the way that my life would turn out but it didn’t. Princesses are not common and fairytales just not true. Sadly, the world in which we live demands a compromise of ideal to experience success as an individual. Ideal means excellent, fitting, and optimal. I am convinced that perfection does not exist in this world. Rather we have accepted a lighter shade of gray as the best possible substitute for the life that we were offered. Instead of choosing to leave our comfort zone marked descriptively as actual, practical, flawed and imperfect to seek the true and real perfection that faith allows, we would rather accept our lot in life and choose to dwell in a world that is not ideal.

Do not be conformed to this world. Why do we accommodate this world so willingly rather than taking a chance that faith might make a real difference in our life? Jesus Christ came to us so that we could be transformed and changed. It begins with a renewal of our mind to accept new ideals and have a new attitude about living the perfect life that is offered. How can you say that you are thinking? Your son has had cancer five times. He fights for his life at this very moment. Aren’t we all? We are born dying. From the moment you drew your first breath, the timer was set. God has numbered our days. Not because He is mad at us or hates us, if people did not die they would be subject to sin endlessly. My husband’s uncle went home to be with the Lord yesterday. He had cancer multiple times in his life. Beat it every single time except the last round. He decided that he didn’t want chemotherapy, radiation and surgeries anymore. He wanted to be with Jesus. In his final days, he lingered. His body began to shut down but he did not pass. His family watched as he suffered day in and day out until finally he was swept away by His Lord. Death is our transition to life as a believer. No one will live forever in sin thanks to God’s Mercy. While we are here, it is an opportunity to believe accepting Jesus Christ by faith.

Matthew 8:25-27 (AMP)
And they went and awakened Him, saying, Lord, rescue and preserve us! We are perishing! And He said to them, Why are you timid and afraid, O you of little faith? Then He got up and rebuked the winds and the sea, and there was a great and wonderful calm (a perfect peaceableness). And the men were stunned with bewildered wonder and marveled, saying,
”What kind of Man is this, that even the winds and the sea obey Him!”

Lord, we are dying. When the storm came the disciples could not believe that Jesus was not concerned that they would perish. Rescue us. Preserve us. Do something. I must admit when I first heard our son’s diagnosis, I felt the same way. Panic rose within me. I wanted to know where God was and why He was not watching over us. The chaos consumed me as I called on His Name. My son had cancer. The ideal life I was living was shattered and irrevocably broken. It would never be the same. I wanted answers. The Lord gave me an answer in the form of a question, “Do you trust me?” I answered, “Yes.” But then realized that my response was not of one who was full of faith but a mother crying out in fear. The storm was upon me and all I could see was the wind and the rain. But sleeping inside of me just as in the belly of that boat was Jesus. The wind and the sea obey Him even when the storm is in me. Why are you timid? Why are you afraid? Where is your faith? What do you believe? Could it be the storm that I am facing is really just an excuse to believe? Is it an opportunity to change my “ideal” of life into something more complete and perfect rather than hanging on to compromise? Once Jesus rebuked the storm, there was a great and wonderful calm marked by perfect peaceableness.

Philippians 3:11-14 (AMP)
That if possible I may attain to the [spiritual and moral] resurrection [that lifts me] out from among the dead [even while in the body]. Not that I have now attained [this ideal], or have already been made perfect, but I press on to lay hold of (grasp) and make my own, that for which Christ Jesus (the Messiah) has laid hold of me and made me His own. I do not consider, brethren, that I have captured and made it my own [yet]; but one thing I do [it is my one aspiration]: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the [supreme and heavenly] prize to which God in Christ Jesus is calling us upward.

This life is not ideal…but we can strive to make it that way. If we allow the Lord to transform our heart and mind to accept a new and better ideal for our life, things will change. Not always on the outside but definitely on the inside where it counts. We are changed by the “entire” renewal of our mind that is ready to accept God’s Perfection found by living an uncompromisingly righteous life. Oh, I hear what you are thinking, and I am not that good either. His Righteousness is mine for the asking. By accepting Jesus Christ as my Savior and Lord, the same power that brought Jesus Christ out of the grave now belongs to me. I may not use it but it’s in there. I must strive to attain the spiritual and moral resurrection that lifts me out of the dead. When the impossible becomes possible the opportunities in our life are endless. No longer are we restricted to natural outcomes but now we can experience the supernatural in this lifetime. This is totally contrary to natural and logical thinking so we must put on the Mind of Jesus Christ to have it. We must emulate His Life to walk in it. The problem is that we have salvation in our hands but do not put it on our bodies wearing it through life. What are you waiting for? What are you saving it for? I am not perfect. This life is not perfect. Jesus Christ is perfect and offers me His Perfection if I will take hold of it integrating into my life and weaving it through my thoughts binding my ways and words to Him. I must press on for perfection of Jesus rather than settling for a less than ideal life. I aspire to see the resurrection power of Jesus Christ active in my life but I cannot take a passive, compromising or settling position to have it. I must want more and strive for perfection.

Matthew 5:48 (AMP)
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 Sovereignty of God is His Perfection. He is constant. His Word, Will and Way never changes. I must change to have the perfect Will of God for my life. He will never change. His Consistency is what secures my hope and promises His Unfailing Love and Righteousness can always be mine if I want them. It is our inconsistency and insecurity in the Sovereignty of God that leaves us lacking. He is the Supreme Power. He is in complete authority. He has excellent understanding and is omnipresent (everywhere all at once). I don’t get it but I have Him. That is all that I need if I believe. To call on the Name of the Lord without faith, trust, belief or confidence that He can and will make a difference is useless. We must develop our faith so it redefines our character so we can endure with confident hope while the Lord perfects that which concerns us. Case in point – my son laying six feet in front of my knocked out from chemotherapy and a bone marrow transplant. He has survived cancer five times but statistically that marks him for death. However, the fact that he is still breathing means that the Lord is not finished with him yet and that the resurrection power of God is still working inside of him. Why? The kid is a believer. He has faith that God will heal him. This is not a room filled with joy and sadness but hope and peace that passes all understanding. It is an ideal atmosphere in the midst of tragic circumstances. But you know what is happening? There are some crazy “coincidences” popping up. The doctors and nurses are all eyes on him right now because his body is not shutting down but keeps getting up. God is perfect. Jesus Christ is perfect. The Holy Spirit is perfect. I can be perfect by putting all my faith in Jesus Christ especially when the circumstances of my life are less than ideal. Why? I have changed my idea of true living. For me to live is Christ. (Philippians 1:21)

John 16:33 (AMP)
I have told you these things, so that in Me you may have [perfect] peace and confidence. In the world you have tribulation and trials and distress and frustration; but be of good cheer [take courage; be confident, certain, undaunted]! For I have overcome the world. [I have deprived it of power to harm you and have conquered it for you.]

There will be trials and hardships in this life. The world we live in is subject to God’s Judgment. Sin is rampant. Love has grown cold. The “perfect” life is impossible if you remain in and of this world. His Grace is sufficient if we use it to strive for the perfection found in Christ alone. Otherwise it is a waste of time and energy. Grace is the covering that allows us to live an uncompromisingly righteous life not hide in our compromising sin. We can have confidence in every situation and perfect peace because Jesus Christ has deprived the world of its power to harm us and conquered it for us. The power is believing that He is enough. We can have courage. Be confident. To live by faith is more than words, it is a total embodiment of Christ heart, soul, mind and body.

I Corinthians 4:20 (AMP)
For the kingdom of God consists of and is based on not talk but power (moral power and excellence of soul).

We must demonstrate allegiance to the Kingdom of God rather than just talking about it all the time.

Colossians 3:14-15 (AMP)
And above all these [put on] love and enfold yourselves with the bond of perfectness [which binds everything together completely in ideal harmony]. And let the peace (soul harmony which comes) from Christ rule (act as umpire continually) in your hearts [deciding and settling with finality all questions that arise in your minds, in that peaceful state] to which as [members of Christ’s] one body you were also called [to live]. And be thankful (appreciative), [giving praise to God always].

If we could only comprehend the Perfect Love of God for us His Children, then we would stop settling for less than a perfect life. We put on Christ’s Love when we follow Him. When we imitate the Lord, we are His Disciples. When we fall in love with Jesus Christ, this world will become a better place for us. Love is commitment. It is not a frilly feeling that lasts forever. It means through thick and thin, good times and bad, it is the glue that keeps us as one. I don’t fully understand everything God is doing in our life especially through the course of this present journey. I trust Him though. I know that no matter how hard it gets my faith will be rewarded. I know that God is good – no longer thinking like the world who wonders if He is even real. If we bond our life to the Perfection of Christ beginning with love, our standard of living begins to become like His Glorious Standard that He intended all along. Soul harmony creates peaceful companionship with Jesus allowing us to press for perfection confidently and boldly in His Presence. It gives us the patience to wait until it comes. The peace in our hearts put there by Jesus will decide and settle with finality all questioning, doubts and lies that the enemy throws at u. We will know what to do and have the strength to do it in His Love. (Proverbs 4:18) We will live in perfect peace. (Isaiah 26:2-4)

I Corinthians 13:11-13 (AMP)
When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child; now that I have become a man, I am done with childish ways and have put them aside. For now we are looking in a mirror that gives only a dim (blurred) reflection [of reality as in a riddle or enigma], but then [when perfection comes] we shall see in reality and face to face! Now I know in part (imperfectly), but then I shall know and understand fully and clearly, even in the same manner as I have been fully and clearly known and understood [by God]. And so faith, hope, love abide [faith—conviction and belief respecting man’s relation to God and divine things; hope—joyful and confident expectation of eternal salvation; love—true affection for God and man, growing out of God’s love for and in us], these three; but the greatest of these is love.

I am not a child anymore. The naivety that went with being young is long gone. Life is tough. This world is a rough place to live. You can never be sure of anything but change. The one and only constant in my life is God. I know that He is always goo. I wasn’t always convinced but I am now. I didn’t figure out when everything was going my way or life was good. I discovered His Profound Love for me when everything fell apart. When life is not ideal, we change our perspective of what true love is and where it can be found. The uncertainty of life opens the door to what is real and relevant about the Kingdom of God. Faith is what we use to connect to hope. Hope is nothing that can be seen or found on the earth it is a reservation in forever. Only those who discover His Perfection can survive this imperfect place and all its cloudy mirrors and dim reflections. Those who take the time to grow in faith, hope and love will live in perfect peace even when things are not ideal.

Isaiah 54:17 (AMP)
But no weapon that is formed against you shall prosper, and every tongue that shall rise against you in judgment you shall show to be in the wrong. This [peace, righteousness, security, triumph over opposition] is the heritage of the servants of the Lord [those in whom the ideal Servant of the Lord is reproduced]; this is the righteousness or the vindication which they obtain from Me [this is that which I impart to them as their justification], says the Lord.