Progress, Not Perfection


“Perfection is not necessary to make a real and lasting difference to other people’s lives.”
J.K. Rowling

My daughter Ashley is not only a lover of literature, art, and history, but she is also a fan of science. In her letter to me this week she said she was looking up at the night sky (again) and pondering how cool the universe is and her own problems on becoming better.

She said, “I was thinking a lot this week about how God does not require perfection of us, but progress. Sometimes we get caught up thinking that we need to do things Right, or accomplish things Perfectly, all the while forgetting that God just wants us to Do.  He requires that we Try.  He’s looking for the Effort.  Yes, we should shoot for the ideal, but when we fall short (and we will), we shouldn’t get down. We should pick ourselves up and move on because any little progress is still progress.”

I agree.  The effort that God is looking for is simply to become a little better today than you were yesterday. Sure, we’ll make mistakes.  Of course we’ll stumble a little, but all He asks is that we keep dusting ourselves off.  Keep trying.  Keep overcoming.  “It’s the progress we make,” she said, “not our current state, that determines how God judges us”.

It’s not about perfection. It’s about progressing.

But that’s hard.  How do you progress always?  How do you improve every day?  Sounds improbable.  Even, impossible.  But is it?  This is where Ashley made a great connection with our Progress being tied to a complicated physics lesson that I had to share with you.

Progression and Kepler’s Law of Planetary Motion
The way I see it is like this: Progression and Acceleration are alike.

Progress is change.
Acceleration is change in speed and/or direction.

If we’re moving along, and our course is linear (a straight line), maintaining a constant acceleration is next to impossible. If we’re moving linearly and continually trying to gain speed – we’re not going to last long because there will be nothing to give us momentum.

But, what if our progress was like Kepler’s Law of Planetary Motion?

Johannes Kepler

Johannes Kepler

German Astronomer Johannes Kepler (1571-1630) was the first to discover that all planets move in elliptical (circular) orbits around the sun.  This mind-blowing discovery in the 1600s proved crucial to Sir Isaac Newton in 1684 when he formulated his Law of Gravitation.

Kepler’s discovery of elliptical planet movement can prove crucial to understanding our progress as well.

“The chief aim of all investigations of the external world should be to discover the rational order and harmony which has been imposed on it by God and which He revealed to us in the language of mathematics.”
Johannes Kepler

There is a rational order to the universe.  Every planet in the solar system orbits around the sun.  But the cool thing about elliptical (oval/circular) orbit is that it promotes constant acceleration.

That’s right.  Because the planet is maintaining a constant change in direction as it orients itself to the sun, it constantly accelerates.

How does this happen?  Well, let’s just say that the sun is the key.  Being the greater source of power, the sun provides enough gravitational pull that gives the planet momentum.  In fact, the sun is so important in this movement/acceleration process that the maximum acceleration of planetary motion is when a planet is closest to the sun.

The Lesson for Us?
What would happen if we oriented ourselves toward the Son?  We spend so much time and energy trying to accelerate through life as we focus on other things.  Running after this to get ahead.  Chasing after that to keep up with the Joneses.  Jumping through hoops to find perfection.

What if, instead, we left the linear rat-race and began orbiting ourselves in elliptical progression?  What if we centered our gravity on the One who is the center of the universe – the Creator of the Universe?

I think, little-by-little we’d find amazing progress.  Continual progress.  Accelerating progress.

Kepler’s Law of Planetary Movement: It’s a scientific fact of the universe, and a metaphor of growth for us.  Elliptical movement around a greater power-generating source is the only way to continual progression.


God expects Progress, Not Perfection
I have news for you.  No one is perfect.  No one can be nor will ever be perfect in this life. The only perfection we should be seeking is the only One who was Perfect – Jesus Christ. Look to Him.

By the way, Johannes Kepler, our genius Astronomer man of science was also a faithful man of God.

“Geometry is unique and eternal, a reflection from the mind of God.  That mankind shares in it is because man is an image of God.”
Johannes Kepler

“Great is God…great is His power and there is no end to His wisdom. Praise Him you heavens, and glorify Him, sun and moon and you planets. For out of Him and through Him, and in Him are all things.”
Johannes Kepler

Focusing on Christ changes us.  Couldn’t we use a little change?  Isn’t our main goal in life to better ourselves?  What do you say we give it a go.  A little bit better every day – and, who knows?  We just might progress to heights and ways unimagined and discover our place in the Universe.




Article also published: “Progress, Not Perfection”



They are starting to put ads on our blog. We do not approve these and are not getting any residuals whatsoever, so I apologize for the content. I’ll see what I can do about it.


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