You therefore must be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect. Matthew 5:48
That’s a lot of pressure! Be perfect, Jesus? Or, uh, how about try to be perfect? Trying is good, right?
I admit it. That verse has always confounded me. I was taught as a child to be my own worst critic. I was taught to seek nothing less than perfection. So, you better believe, I know full well just how imperfect I really am.
I am not perfect. And neither are you.
So, does that mean we’re hosed? Have we caught Jesus suggesting we do something that is impossible?
For nothing will be impossible with God. Luke 1:37
There you have it, folks. Nothing will be impossible for God. God can do anything he wants. God gets to be perfect.
Do you remember us talking about this the other day? No? We did. When we talked about sharing God’s glory, we talked about the living God within us. Remember? That’s the reason we can share His Glory. And guess what, there’s other stuff of His we get to share!
14 For all who are led by the Spirit of God are sons[f] of God. 15 For you did not receive the spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you have received the Spirit of adoption as sons, by whom we cry, “Abba! Father!” 16 The Spirit himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, 17 and if children, then heirs—heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, provided we suffer with him in order that we may also be glorified with him. Romans 8:14-17
Being perfect plays right into the truth of who we are. We are no longer slaves to sin, but sons of the Living God, with the Spirit of God living within us. Yes, even us girls are still sons. (Just like men get to be brides of Christ.)
We are made to be perfect. Yes. Perfect.
There are some caveats to that perfection, though. It seems that suffering plays a vital role in that. Paul said, “provided we suffer.” So, God’s a sadist? Certainly not! But, boy oh boy, when we suffer for the Lord we sure do learn a lot about Him! Just like He showed us He knew a lot about us by submitting to death–even death on a cross!
This world is broken, we’re going to suffer. But God made a way for that. God made suffering a vital part of our journey. Not because He’s a sadist, but because God makes all things new. God brings encouragement from the worst of situations. God takes death and restores it to life.
So if there is any encouragement in Christ, any comfort from love, any participation in the Spirit, any affection and sympathy, 2 complete my joy by being of the same mind, having the same love, being in full accord and of one mind. 3 Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. 4 Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others. 5 Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus,[a] 6 who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped,[b] 7 but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant,[c] being born in the likeness of men. 8 And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. 9 Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name, 10 so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, 11 and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. Philippians 2:1-11
I know that was a mouthful of scripture. Maybe even a mouthful you just skimmed over because you already know what it says. Or maybe you just got intimidated. If so, go back and read it. I’ll wait.
Now that that’s done, let’s continue. We need to act like Christ. When we act like Christ we are doing something very, very special. We are walking in unity with him and with everyone else who is doing the same. When we walk in Christ, submitting to Him, listening to Him, and being in Him, we are…wait for it…
I’ll let that sink in a minute.
It doesn’t matter what you think, or what you feel. You feel inadequate? You are! You feel weak? You are! You don’t know the answers? You don’t have to.
Because Jesus. Jesus is doing all the work. He’s bringing death to life. And He’s doing it in you.
You heard me. Jesus. Only Jesus. All Jesus all the time. When you’re in Him, you are perfect. When you’re not, you’re not. So, go be perfect, my loves! Go be perfect!
Here’s a link to a sermon I preached on this subject shortly after I wrote this blog. Enjoy.