“Almost”

Would you buy a freezer if you knew it worked great except for a few hours every week? Would you frequent a store that was always open except when the owner shut it down for personal reasons? Could you develop a close friendship with people who accepted you except for unexpected lapses for unexplained reasons? Would you buy a product whose warranty covered everything but 2 pages of exceptions?

There are many things in our lives that reach the almost standard but fail in the end. We even have prefixes such as semi- and quasi- to qualify and limit words. (semi-circle) (quasi-judicial) The old saw that says, “That’s good enough for horseshoes and hand grenades” is not very satisfying for us in other endeavors.

In our Christian walk we will have to admit our limitations in striving for perfection. We will sometimes forget to pray, neglect the needy or just plain sin. We almost reach the standard. Several of the 7 churches mentioned in the first 3 chapters of Revelation were commended for some of the good deeds they were doing. But almost wasn’t good enough for Christ who urged them to “overcome” (Rev 2:17) and “be earnest and repent.” (Rev 3:19) Jesus always accepted humble, repentant sinners even if they were far from “almost”. (Lk 17:1) (Rom 6:14) (Lk 18:13-14) It is possible to be almost right and yet be far away in the vital areas that please God. The Pharisee of Jesus’ day had most of the Old Law covered but had neglected, “ justice, mercy and faithfulness” (Mt 23:23) and were called greedy hypocrites.

The saddest most egregious act one can do is to almost become a Christian. Witness Paul’s attempt to persuade King Agrippa (Acts 26: 28) whom, as far as scriptures report, never did accept the invitation to “repent or perish” (Lk 13:3) or to open the door of one’s heart and let Jesus come in. (Rev 3:20)

In our secular, and unfortunately in our spiritual lives, almost has almost become the norm for this age. We see it in the quality of merchandise as well as in almost believers. In the secular we have almost accepted built-in-obsolescence, may we never do that in our spiritual walk.
—Jim Bailey