I have friends* that are struggling to quit smoking. As I read their accounts of their ups and downs of their battles, and trying to figure out how best to support them if I can, I can’t help but be reminded of the differing spiritual battles that we all face.

Yeah, I see spiritual implications in everything.

One of the things that I wrestled with for a long time, even without realizing that this was crippling my spiritual walk, was the idea of perfection. You see, the Bible seems to not only demand perfection, but it seems to imply that perfection is attainable now. In following Christ, I know that I have things that I struggle with. No, I’m not gonna share my issues here, that isn’t the point. Nor are they all that pretty, thus why I’m not in the sin judging business. [Not that smoking is a sin. Yeah, I’ve heard some people try and say that the Bible says that smoking is a sin–the body being a temple and all that–but you can only say that if you do some twisting of context that would make young Romanian gymnasts envious].

Then someone pointed out to me that I had a screwed up view of “perfection.” When we read the word perfection, through our modern mindset, we see the Greek ideal of perfection. We can’t attain that. Yet for most of my spiritual life, I was tormented by the guilt of failure because I couldn’t reach this goal of perfection. My life was littered with seemingly endless failures. But when you read perfection more through the eyes of the original audience, you find the Hebrew idea of wholeness. Being complete is something that we can attain.

How might that look?

The thing about journeys is that more times than not, the journey is the point, not necessarily the destination. It is through the struggles that we learn a lot about who we are. Yes, we may stumble, fall down, fail, but it’s what you do after that happens that’s the important thing. Do you quit your journey? Do you find an entirely different path to take? Or, do you get up, dust yourself off, then continue on your way? Wholeness can be found in continuing your battles, despite the occasional setbacks.

The bottom line is that my prayers (best wishes, positive energy, whatever makes you comfortable) are with you guys.

*Darn that Bible. We’re to love our enemies (Nick Kaufmann), those who’re easy to love (Stephanie Simpson-Woods), and those in between (John A. Burks).

Comment on this bit of rantus interruptus anyway you want (I don’t know where you’re reading it from) or just do so at my message board.