One summer day while driving in the country, I somehow got on a road that kept getting narrower and narrower until it became a dead end. I got out of the car to try to figure the best way to turn around when I noticed that the dead-end was actually an old vine-covered wrought-iron arch.

If you looked under the vines you could see rusty iron letters which read 'The School of Perfection." Becoming curious I passed through the arch and followed an overgrown path up a steep hill. From the brow of the hill I could see, nestled in an isolated valley below, a complex of buildings that indeed looked like a school of some kind.

There were hundreds of people milling around the campus with books under their arms.

- Some were in their teens.

- Some looked to be in their 70's and 80's.

The voices of lecturing professors came floating through the open windows as I walked down into the quadrangle and mingled with the students.

At first I was afraid I'd be spotted as an intruder, but people showed no concern, if they noticed me at all.

"What are you studying?" I asked a bright looking young man.

"Medicine. I'm going to be a doctor."

"How long will it take you?"

"That depends," he replied. "I've been studying ten years and it may take another twenty."

"Thirty years to become a doctor? But surely in eight years you should be able to get your degree."

"Ah," he answered. "But I'm not ready."

An old gentlemen with a long white beard came shuffling down the walk with his cane in one hand and a book in the other.

"Are you a professor here?" I asked.

"No, son, I'm a student."

"What are you studying?"

"Law. I'm going to be a lawyer. Been at it sixty years"

"But Sir, you should have been a lawyer long ago."

"Ah," he said. "But I'm not ready."

A woman in her mid-forties asked me for the time.

"By the way, Miss, are you a student here?"

"Yes,   I'm going to be a teacher... some day...

I hope... But I'm not ready."

"When will you be ready?" I made bold to ask.

She pointed to a sign on the door - which, in fact, was over every door and plastered on every window:


Suddenly, I began to find it hard to breathe. Surely this isn't another world.

My car is parked just over the hill, only forty-five minutes had passed since I walked through the vine-covered arch of the School of Perfection. Yet, it seemed like a million years.

I panicked and ran as fast as I could up the hillside, down the narrow path, out into the sunlight where my car was parked, turned the car around and drove away as if I were shaking myself out of a bad dream.

It took a long time to figure out what it was that was so disturbing about that place. Then one day it hit me. That wasn't a school at all! It was a prison! It was as if the students in that school were under an  evil enchantment,

- endlessly preparing for work that they would never do,

- getting themselves ready for a life they knew they would never live.

And the words that put them under the spell were there: "Until you are perfect, you are not ready."

Then I began to think of all the times I've heard people say, "I'm not ready."

"Someday I'm going to come to Jesus. But not yet. I'm not ready."

"What do you mean you're not ready?"

"Well, I smoke too much. I'm not living right."

"Someday I'm going to get serious with God, not yet. I'm not ready."

"What do you mean?"

"Well, I'm not good enough."

"Someday I'm going to go out and really start reaching people with the power of Christ. I'm going to do great things. But not yet. I'm not ready."

You ask them what they mean, and always the same answer,

- I'm not good enough,

- I'm not strong enough,

- I'm not skilled enough.

"Until you are perfect, you are not ready."

And if you pin them down as to when they think they will be good enough, the answer is "never." They are trapped by that demonic lie.

How many people reading these words have been rendered useless by that lie. You're in the School of Perfection and you've been going there for who knows how many years.

And, unless you are disenchanted, delivered from this thing, you'll be sitting around in the School of Perfection learning, learning, learning, until your dying day. And you'll never get on with the job that God is calling you to do. For you will say, "Until I'm perfect, I'm not ready."

II Corinthians 12 flatly tells us that we are imperfect men and women, and as long as we are in this body we will be imperfect. Paul had a thorn in the flesh, an angel of Satan to harass him.

- It kept him weak.

- It drove him to distraction.

We don't know what it was. Was it a physical ailment? Was it a spiritual disturbance?

Whatever it was, Paul said, "Please take it away Lord!"

But the Lord didn't take it away. And Paul could not come back and protest, "Lord, until you remove this thorn in my flesh, I can't do anything for you." Paul could not say, "Until I am perfect, I'm not ready!", because the Lord said,

"My grace is all you need. My strength is made perfect in weakness. I will work through your very imperfection if you will yield yourself as you are to me."

We have treasure in earthen vessels to show that the transcendent power belongs to God and not to us. The treasure is God's perfect grace,

God's perfect power,

God's perfect Spirit.

But the vessel that carries the treasure is an imperfect human being. And God takes us, imperfect as we are, and fills us with His grace, and sends us, imperfect as we are, to minister His perfect grace to the world around us.

God doesn't ask you whether you're perfect. God asks whether you are willing to put that imperfect life of yours at His disposal.

- Jacob had a wounded thigh.

- Moses had an inferiority complex and a speech impediment.

- Peter was impetuous.

- James and John were vain.

And God took them as they were, with their liabilities, and used them.

There's not a soul reading this who cannot be used,

- to carry light,

- to convey healing,

Just as you are right now, if you will open that imperfect life of yours and let Him pour in His light, and go,

even if you have to limp,

or squint,

or stutter,

even if you never passed beyond third grade, even if you're nervous and frightened, you can give the light you have to someone else.

When Jesus says,

"Be ye therefore perfect, even as your heavenly Father is perfect,"

He isn't telling you to sit around and do nothing until every imperfection is cleared. He is telling you to come the way you are, to Him.

Walk with Him.

Get under the yoke with Him. Learn from Him, until, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord you are changed into that same glory.

Our Lord, in the parable of the sower, makes crystal clear that we live in an imperfect world - there are rocks and thorns and barren places. You don't wait until conditions are perfect to sow the seed. You sow,

- even though you know that 75% of the seed will fall where it will never grow,

- even though it is obvious that nine out of ten people will take the blessing you give them, in Christ's name, without ever giving Jesus Christ a second thought.

One of the reasons that "School of Perfection" was nestled in a valley, away from the rest of the world, and that no student in that school ever dared to come back over the hill, was that they were afraid to cope with this imperfect world. It was so much easier to spend their time with their books, and each other, and their untried dreams.

And how our churches and fellowships become just that - schools of perfection - covered with moss and vines, insulated in a thousand ways against the realities of this imperfect world.

It's easy enough to sit around and talk to each other about the saving power of God. But,

how many of us have the guts to take the saving power of God out there and start spreading it around?

How many of us are willing to go out there and have our gospel rejected, made light of, deliberately misunderstood by ninety people, in order that we may somehow get it over to one person who hungers for it?

How many of us are willing to spend time with ten different people in order to find the one among them who wants the life of God?

The farmer who waits until he's sure of tomorrows weather before he sows his seed will never sow. He'll stand there looking at the changing sky until he turns to a pillar of salt. And the servant of God who waits until everything is A-Okay before they begin to take Christ into his everyday world will never do it.

Unless you are willing to accept failure, three out of four times, or even nine out of ten times, you will never take Jesus Christ an inch beyond where you now sit.

When our Lord was about to take His leave of the disciples for the last time, He commanded them to remain in Jerusalem and wait. He did not say,

"Wait until you're perfect."

"Wait until the world becomes a better place." He said, "Wait until you receive power from on high. Wait until the Spirit of the Holy God comes upon you. Then go, and be my witnesses."

Well, the Spirit that came upon them, and filled their imperfect bodies, imperfect minds, with the perfect life of God, and made them mighty beyond description, is breathing upon you right now, waiting for you to say to Him, "Come in," afresh.

To the Spirit of Christ you cannot say, "I'm not ready!" To the Spirit it's either "Yes" or "No." It's either "Come in, fill me", or "Stay away, I don't want you."

To those who say, "Come in," He will pay a visit this day.

- He will touch your imperfect body and your imperfect mind, today, with the perfect life of God.

- He will send you into that imperfect world to sow the seed of His Word and some of it will grow.

And so, He waits for your answer, "Will you let me in or do you want me to go away?" says the Spirit of Christ to your soul right now,

......and answer Him you will.