In Matthew 5: 48 we are told to be perfect just like our Heavenly Father is perfect. Can any human being be perfect; totally free from flaws, completely sinless, a perfect replication of a perfect God? In 2 Corinthians 13:11 we are told to aim for perfection. Aiming for perfection is much deeper than being flawless. You can be a morally upright person like Cornelius (Acts 10), or a person in whom there is no guile, like Nathaniel (John 1:47), or could have kept all the laws and commandments from your youth like the rich young man (Matthew 19:16-22), yet your heart and life is far from God and the Kingdom of God. Jesus actually identified the problem of some people as being ‘perfect’ in their eyes that they have no room for God in their lives (Luke 5:31). When God tells us to aim for perfection, He means we should do all we can to mature in Christ, be complete in Christ, be fulfilled in Christ.
The journey to perfection begins with us surrendering our lives to Christ and yielding our lives to God for God to use us for His glory, for God to make us vessels of honour in His hands. While some people are too perfect for God like the Pharisees and Sadducees were, some others see themselves as too imperfect for God to want to have anything to do with them. A number of people after surrendering their lives to the Lord; after accepting Jesus as Lord, sit on the sidelines, remain benchwarmers for years. They feel they are not perfect enough for the work of God, they believe there are still a lot of gray areas in their lives that need to be sorted out before they can do anything for God or take their service to God to another level. The funny thing is that it is the very thing they are running away from that can remove those flaws and sins in their lives they are concerned about. The place of service is actually the place where washing, refining and sanctification takes place. God will not fill you with His power so you are empowered to sit down and do nothing for Him. It is the more we yield our lives to God, the more the power of the Holy Spirit fills us. The more we are filled with the power of God, the easier it is to overcome besetting sins and weakness.
God doesn’t need us to be perfect before He can use us. Not once in the Bible will you come across an account of a person who was perfect before the person was used by God. The only person that falls into this category is our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. But you will find several accounts of people whose lives became better as they yielded their lives to serve God. The Peter that denied Jesus three times in Matthew 26:69-75 is not the same Peter that stood up boldly on the day of Pentecost to address a crowd of people and admonish them to repent and be baptized (Acts 2:14-39). The Peter on the day of Pentecost, was not the same Peter in 2 Peter 1:3-7 that was teaching about the essential things needed to grow in Christian Character. We see how along the way, Peter through the power of the Holy Spirit, overcame the fears and weaknesses he had in his early walk with God. We see how Peter matured in faith, matured in Christ to the point that he was ready to die for Christ. Peter’s story changed from denying Christ to dying for Christ. This is a clear example of what it means to aim or press towards perfection. Peter would never have gotten to this level in his relationship with God, if after denying Jesus, he allowed guilt overwhelm him and he took his life like Judas Iscariot did. Or he returned and remained in his old life of fishing (John 21:3). Peter continued pressing on in His walk with God, Peter continued to aim for perfection.
If we wait until we are perfect, we may never do anything for God. We will just go to the grave with all the talents, gifts, skills and potentials God has put in us unused and untapped. You don’t become perfect by sitting down and doing nothing! You don’t perfect the art of driving by sitting down for years, reading about how to drive. You have to get on the steering wheel. You have to get into God’s Word and work for perfection to take place in your life. God isn’t searching for perfect people, He is searching for people who love Him, people who believe in Him and in what He says, people who are passionate about Him, people who are striving towards perfection. This doesn’t mean God is indifferent to sin or He loves to see us sin. It simply means when your heart is completely yielded to God, He would daily work on your imperfections, shaping and molding you into the person He created you to be.
We shouldn’t allow the mistakes, disappointments or failures of today keep us from pressing on to receive what tomorrow has in store. We are all in a race and Christ is at the finish line waiting for us. He doesn’t leave where He is standing or remove His gaze from us because we fell down flat while running. No, He keeps cheering us on. He keeps shouting out these words of encouragement: keep running, keep moving, keep growing, keep trying, keep pressing on, keep striving towards perfection. Don’t give up! You can make it, you can do it, you can get there. Jesus is our Greatest Cheer Leader. He cheers us on not because we are perfect, but because He wants us to aim for perfection; He wants us to grow in the Word, to mature in Him, to be complete in Him, to live a meaningful and fulfilled life through His power at work in us. God wants us to move from the level of denying Christ to dying for Christ. Now the question is are these things attainable here on earth or do they happen only in heaven? If Peter could attain this, then you and I can if we remain yielded to Christ, if we don’t go back to our old ways and life. If we don’t allow the excuse that ‘no one is perfect’, keep us wallowing in sin. If we don’t allow the setbacks, challenges or even successes of today, keep us from seeking, serving and following the Lord wholeheartedly to the very end.
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