I was having a conversation with someone awhile back. I don’t remember exactly how the conversation came about but I mentioned not doing something. I said there were certain things that I don’t eat. I made the comment that I didn’t want to eat said items because they had sugar in them and I’m on a pretty strict diet. So this person says to me, “That’s right cause you don’t want to mess up your perfect body.” To which I replied that I was far from perfect and had a long way to go, especially in that area. So then, the other statement from this person sort of took me off guard and I was taken aback. They berated me for my desire for perfection and told me I was arrogant to even say that.
This little exchange spurred some thoughts for me. First of all, it caused some self-examination, which is never a bad thing. Was I being arrogant in my desire for perfection? I don’t think so. I say that because Jesus said for us to be perfect.
“But you are to be perfect, even as your Father in heaven is perfect.” – Matthew 5:48
Not good or better. Notice He didn’t say ‘Be nice, don’t cuss, drink or smoke. Pay your taxes and go to church.’ No, He said be perfect as our Father is perfect. Now THAT is a mission for your life right there!!
Now, I know this has immediate push-back here. Some of you reading this are thinking right about now that I’ve gone off the reservation. I get that. I never said this was going to be easy. Jesus never said this was going to be easy. Then again, do you really believe that He would have told us to do something that was impossible? What I love about this statement by Jesus and indeed His whole existence here on earth is that Jesus didn’t really beat around the bush about a lot of things. And He didn’t give us a lot of warm fuzzy feelings about some things. I mean, He talks about loving your enemies, praying for those who hate you, taking up your cross, giving up everything to follow and lots of other hard things. Then, He pulls out this perfection thing. None of it sounds easy.
I think perfection IS to be our goal. In ALL aspects of the life He has given us. I think that He is working toward the perfection of not only the earth but the perfection of humanity as well. Jesus taught His disciples, when they prayed, to ask for the Kingdom to come on earth as it is in Heaven. Heaven is perfect. So, shouldn’t we strive for perfection on earth as well?
I really believe we do ourselves and Jesus a disservice when we are lazy in our approach to anything. Be it jobs, family life, marriage, child rearing, exercise or whatever it is. We owe it, if we are His followers, to strive for perfection. And I believe that effort should be in all aspects of life. If you read Jesus’ words, He didn’t compartmentalize life. Everything was one big piece. For Jesus, life was about the perfection of His life to bring glory to God the Father. To bring glory to the Father.
How dare we do less? What are we striving for and do we need to set our goals just a wee bit higher?
I know this. I don’t want to stand before Jesus one day, look in His eyes and tell Him I thought He meant somebody else when He said ‘Be perfect.’ I don’t want to look at Him and tell Him that I didn’t even try because it was too hard.