Saturday, June 12, 2010

The goal of perfection

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.

Do you?


  1. Scott,
    I totally understand where you are coming from. The Radical Series and Crazy Love are causing me to reflect on Jesus' words in a different light, and how silly of me to not think of it before. I mean, why have American Christians created an "American" Jesus that wants us to chase the American dream and "HAVE IT ALL"? That's not what the Bible says at all.... and yet, we are living in our little bubble with our little Jesus as part of our life thinking we got it made in the shade. What if....... Jesus really meant what he said when he told us to care for widows and orphans and give our things away to the poor?
    We certainly don't live that way........OUCH!

  2. I can agree that the "goal" of perfection is something we should strive for. I've just seen too many people let perfectionism with how they perform or do tasks lead them down an obsessive, inward looking road instead of showing others the love God has shown us.

  3. Exactly Mel...I've asked that often recently. What if Jesus really meant that? I couldn't agree more, Amy, that the striving should never make us turn away from people. Jesus, in His perfection, never turned away and inward. He always turned outward and upward to the Father, while seeking that perfection.