The Myth of Perfectly Imperfect (Numbers 20)

I’m exhausted.

I’ve been trying so hard, for so long. I’ve been trying to be perfect.

I plan my schedule meticulously, trying to fit every last possible thing in. I try to be a good listener, cheery, warm, unbothered and open all at once. I bend over backwards to get spiritual time, school time, work time, ministry time, social time, and free time in every single week. And I beat myself up when I forget the tiniest thing or do one little thing wrong.

And I’m freaking sick of it. I’m done. I’m not here to be perfect. I’m here to be me. I mean, this is me. Take it or leave it. I’m done trying to conform.

I just can’t do it anymore.

Raise your hand if you relate. Back there, way in the back, raising his hand with you, is Moses.

Because this is so him in Numbers 20. I mean, what is a man that’s led thousands of whiny, fickle, rambunctious former slaves through a wilderness for years if not exhausted, sick of it, and completely done? I wouldn’t even have made it this far!

So when the Israelites are whining a-gain about water and how darn thirsty they are, Moses gets fed up. He says, “This is me. Fed up. Take it or leave it.” He strikes a rock with his staff and water gushes out.

Maybe the Israelites didn’t deserve any water, but still, this is a win, right?

Well. Not so much.

Because God didn’t tell Moses to hit a rock to give the people water. He told him to speak to the rock.

Moses did speak! He just spoke to the people. He said “Listen, you rebels, must we bring you water out of this rock?” before hitting the rock twice (verse 10).

How long did that take him? Fifteen seconds? Ten?

Yet it was that tiny moment that lost him the Promised Land forever (verse 12).

One Weak Link

(I’m physically holding myself back from quoting The Prince of Egypt)

Talk about exhausted.

When I say Moses has been ride or die for these Israelites? He has been ride or die!!

He faced Pharaoh over and over to help free these people from Egypt.

He’s climbed mountains, crossed seas, and fielded complaints for these people.

He’s begged and pleaded God to save these people – more than once! – even going so far as to ask God to replace his name in the book of Life with theirs.

Moses has done so freaking much.

But it didn’t matter. All the good he did in the past wasn’t enough for God to overlook his sin.

And what was his sin? Moses didn’t trust God. He didn’t listen to God. When he hit the rock, he acted based off of his emotions, even saying “we” brought water from the rock as if it wasn’t 100% an act of God alone. He forgot who he was, who God was, and the difference between the two. He was prideful.

Okay, and? I mean, murder, rape, blasphemy – those are all sins I can think of that feel bigger, more deserving of something like this. Pride? Surely, Moses was good enough for God to let this slide.

And you know what? In our eyes, he was good enough. That’s our problem.

We live in a culture of acceptance. Accept yourself for who you are. Love yourself right where you are. You’re doing great, sweetie. Stop beating yourself up. You are perfectly imperfect and that’s beautiful. Love your flaws.

We take those ideas into our spiritual lives. I might still be drinking on the side, but at least I come to church. I might not keep the Sabbath, but at least I’m a virgin. I may not spend time with God every day, but at least I got baptized. Hey, this is me. God knows my heart.

I’m good enough.

But if Moses, the Moses, wasn’t “good enough”, then good enough isn’t a thing. God’s not interested in “good enough”. He’s not cool with our halfway service, our tepid relationships, our faltering attempts at Christian living.

Because it only takes one of those small sins to lose us eternal life forever.

God’s Message: “I will take your imperfect heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh.”

If your eyes are glazing over or if you’re fighting off panic, then you’ve passed the captcha – you’re human. You know you’re not perfect. You know it’s impossible for you to ever be perfect.

But you know what God isn’t? Human. Which means nothing is impossible for Him.

That’s why He’s perfect. But that’s also why He can make us perfect too.

Don’t get it twisted. His perfect isn’t “ace my to-do list” perfect. His perfect isn’t “please everybody” perfect.

His perfect is “sin no more” perfect. His perfect is “I am with you always” perfect.

His perfect means trusting in Him. His perfect means taking refuge in Him. His perfect means obeying Him. His perfect means believing in Him, completely, totally.

And his perfect is just a prayer away. It’s a prayer for faith. It’s a prayer of complete surrender.

Moses may have lost the Promised Land, but he prayed that prayer. He surrendered completely. Later when he faces the Edomites and tells them the Israelites’ story, he doesn’t even mention himself. Gone is the man who claimed to bring water out of the rock. In his place is a man who boldly explains that God sent an angel to bring them out of Egypt (verse 16).

That’s God’s perfect. It’s a substitution – of our flaws, our sins, our desires, our plans – for Him.

I don’t want to be perfectly imperfect. I want to be hidden in the One who is perfect.

And then I want to live with Him forever, in the Promised Land.

You in?

What do you think? Is it possible to be “perfect”? Comment below.

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