By Megan Schmalz

Chasing Perfection

Summer Devotional 2023

Getting Started

I have always been a goal-oriented person. To-do lists often crowd my phone and post-it notes accumulate throughout my home. There is a specific joy and sense of accomplishment that comes with crossing items off my list. I love feeling like I am building an organized life with few mishaps or surprises. Unfortunately, life often does not follow suit. I forget a deadline, or wake up late, or in a moment of frustration, speak regrettable words to a friend. All the planning and effort towards building my idea of a perfect life flies out the window and I am left overwhelmed, disappointed, and frustrated with my own brokenness.

As demonstrated in the book of John, Jesus offers more than a box to check, an errand to run or a goal to accomplish. His definition of a beautiful and fulfilling life may look very different than our own, as we see in today’s passage, in which we encounter Jesus as he has entered Jerusalem in preparation for the crucifixion.

John 12:20-25

20 Now among those who went up to worship at the feast were some Greeks. 21 So these came to Philip, who was from Bethsaida in Galilee, and asked him, “Sir, we wish to see Jesus.” 22 Philip went and told Andrew; Andrew and Philip went and told Jesus. 23 And Jesus answered them, “The hour has come for the Son of Man to be glorified. 24 Truly, truly, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it bears much fruit. 25 Whoever loves his life loses it, and whoever hates his life in this world will keep it for eternal life. 26 If anyone serves me, he must follow me; and where I am, there will my servant be also. If anyone serves me, the Father will honor him.

Questions to Consider

1. What images come to mind when you consider Jesus’ message in this passage? Do you resonate with the grain of wheat he mentions? (v. 24)

2. What does Jesus mean when he speaks of “hating (your) life”? (v. 25)

3. How may Jesus be inviting you to reprioritize your life? What needs to “die” in order to “bear much fruit”?

4. What would your life look like if you did reprioritize?

Closing Reflection

We all have things we want to accomplish and visions of what our life will become. That may include goals that we set for our job, where we live, our marital status, and relationships with friends and families. In and of themselves, none of those things are sinful, however, when we put all of our focus and hope in chasing our idea of the “perfect” life, we can lose sight of the work that the Lord is doing in the small, subtle, and very ordinary moments that make up everyday life. Instead of the perfect life, the Lord invites us to consider our lives through the perspective of eternity, shifting our focus and priorities to align with His own. Consider today what the Lord is drawing your attention to and what He is asking you to set down.

Megan is a Kappa Delta and Clemson Greek IV alumna. She graduated in 2016 and currently works as a doctor in Houston, TX.
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