Matthew 5:48 (NIV) Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect.
Be perfect. Is it even possible? To conform absolutely to the description of an ideal type. To be excellent and complete beyond practical improvement. To exactly fit the need for your purpose in life. To be entirely without flaw, defect or shortcoming. To be accurate and correct in every detail. To be pure. To be thorough in all things. To live completely uncompromised. Is such a thing even possible? If not, then why would Jesus even suggest it to us? Do you strive for perfection? We all fall short. No matter how great our determination in a single day, there is always the instance where God’s Mercy is a necessity and so we call out for His Grace. Yet, it says clearly and emphatically to “be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect.”
How do I achieve perfection in my completely imperfect state? I was sinful from birth. Did I ever stand a chance to be that thing I am called to be so directly in His Word? The Latin word for perfect is perfectus which means completed, excellent, accomplished, exquisite. The past participle of perificere meaning accomplish, finish or complete. Achieving perfection in this life is not a beginning quality but an end result by definition alone. It means to conform to the description of ideal which implies that there is a process to perfection and change that is required. To complete something means that there is something missing which must be added to bring about such a result. There is hope for me yet. Could it be that I can become perfect like my Father is perfect?
Matthew 19:21-22 (NIV)
Jesus answered, “If you want to be perfect, go, sell your possessions and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.” When the young man heard this, he went away sad, because he had great wealth.
The young man who came to Jesus asked, “Teacher, what good thing must I do to get eternal life? Of course, Jesus immediately pointed to the Law. The young man confirmed that he kept the commandments. He then asked the Lord, “What do I still lack?” Are you there today? The place this young man came to. You are a believer. You attend church regularly. You try to do the right thing. You have a good attitude. Follow through with appropriate actions. People like you. You have a comfortable life. You are blessed. Yet, deep down inside something is missing. You do not feel complete. Though striving for perfection, you have fallen short. Are you lacking in fulfillment? Most people do. Religion will never fulfill the space reserved for Eternity in our heart. Routine faithfulness to God’s Word will produce a pseudo-harvest in our life. The enemy will allow good things to grow in order to make us comfortable so we stop this incessant, annoying plan to follow Christ, destroy his kingdom and overcome darkness. We fall for it so many times. Prayer is forgotten. Compromise accepted. Substitutions granted. Religion takes the place of our relationship to Christ. Your Father will never leave you in such a state. He will interrupt your life. Disrupt your comfort. Shake your foundation. Send in a storm. The Lord will do whatever it takes to get our attention, because of His Great Love that is perfect despite our chronic imperfection.
Jesus told the young man, “If you want to be perfect, go, sell your possessions and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.” Stop it. God blessed us just to give it all away. How am I supposed to live? How will my family survive? You expect me to give up everything and follow you, Lord? How is that perfect? Where is the satisfaction in such an action? Giving up my personal security for an eternal pursuit? You are kidding, right? No, I think the Lord was pretty straight forward in His Expectation. The struggle is real. Completely surrendering our life to Christ makes us perfect.
Romans 12:1-2 (NIV)
Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship. Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.
We freely offer our dead souls to Jesus for resurrection life. The problem is giving up our mind and body to pursue the Lord. Many will confess that the Daniel Fast has kicked their… well you know. Struggling with caffeine addiction, carb decompression, sugar lows, and a body that likes its food – it is hard to focus on prayer when your stomach is growling, head pounding and body grows weak. Welcome to the problem we have with perfection. It says, “Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.” God’s Word is important in achieving perfection. The Law of God grants us freedom. (James 1:25) It tells how to find it. Keep it. Hold on to it. Embrace it. Live by it. To live our life in the Word of God and surrender our mind, soul AND body to Jesus Christ is the only way to find perfection. God’s good, pleasing and perfect will is available to those who are one with Christ. You cannot live apart from Jesus and be complete. It is in the Lord that total satisfaction and absolute fulfillment are found outside of the conditions, circumstances and situations of life. We find in knowing the Will of God and doing it without reservation. By surrendering all, we are made perfectly complete in Jesus Christ.
2 Corinthians 12:9-10 (NIV)
But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.
Perfection is found in our weakness. Our absolute and utter helplessness surrendered to God allows His Power to be made perfect in us. This is against every ideal and philosophy of this world. The Lord says, “My Grace is sufficient for you.” It completes and corrects everything that you cannot do. To fully accept that God is perfect, changes our attitude in the midst of weakness, insults, hardships, persecutions, and difficulties. It is to accept His Absolute Perfection in the midst of our weakness and imperfection that completes us. That means that all those things that are less than perfect in our life are subject to His Grace and Completion. The Lord promises to work out every detail of our life for good based solely on His Unconditional and Perfect Love for us given by His Grace and never earned. Faith surrenders my life… all of it to His Word, Way and Will. Confident hope allows me to be weak to fully accept God’s Power with no fear of recourse or regret. I cannot have it partially in my life. It is impossible to please God without faith. Faith is not what we say but rather what we do, how we live and what we truly believe that makes its way into our life. Faith must be in a credible source. I can believe all I want that a broken chair will hold my weight and plop down in it just in time to discover when my bottom hits the floor that my faith was misplaced. When I am weak, then I am strong. When I accept that I not perfect, but strive to surrender my life to Christ, I will achieve perfection.
2 Corinthians 7:1 (NIV)
Therefore, since we have these promises, dear friends, let us purify ourselves from everything that contaminates body and spirit, perfecting holiness out of reverence for God.
Faith and confident hope are based on the Promises of God. We do not know the outcome merely what the Lord promises to do according to His Word. Is it enough to pursue Jesus with our whole life – body, mind and spirit? Will we allow weakness so His Power will make us strong? The Sacrifice of Jesus Christ gave us the right to choose. We can live for this world or choose to live for the Kingdom of God. Those who decide to follow Jesus and pursue perfection will not be disappointed as we give ourselves away – we are made complete lacking no good thing. It all comes down to our willingness to give up our claim to this world and what it has to offer to save our soul. I know that is not what most are preaching, but it is what the Word of God says. If we love this life, we will lose it. (Mark 8:35) The young man knew the Word of God. He admitted it to Jesus, but when the Lord asked him to do what it – he walked away. What will your response be? Will you surrender your life to achieve perfection in Jesus today?
Psalm 138:8 (NKJV)
The Lord will perfect that which concerns me; Your mercy, O Lord, endures forever; Do not forsake the works of Your hands.