- July 04, 2017
- Houston Clark
“Be perfect; therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect.” –Matthew 5:48
The right response to this verse is to go be perfect, right? Right, so where do we go from there? How do I be perfect?
We cannot not strive to be perfect. In Matthew 5 Jesus teaches his disciples how things are going to be done around here from now on. He sets the bar real high; not committing adultery is not far enough, simply looking lustfully at a woman is too far and “love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you.” He also sprinkles in the fact that he did not come to abolish the law, but fulfill it. All this to show that when Jesus says to “be perfect,” I think we should strive to do so.
“It’s not one of my strengths” or “So and so is better at this than me” are excuses for not trying (yes! exerting effort) to be perfect. Because we are called, we do not have the luxury of deciding if we are going to show the newbie at work the ropes or engage the “loser” that just walked through your church’s front doors. We strive to be perfect. It is hard to strive for something inanimate such as “perfection.” Pre-destined for us, we have several signs one of which wore our same “clothes,” aka our flesh, which shows us what “perfection” is. His name is Jesus.
I might have written before that I love getting things done. Call it being obsessed with being productive, checking things off my list, etc. I love it! Thus, my getting-things-done approach significantly informs how I think about being perfect. However, I do not think the perfect Jesus tells us to be has much to do with being productive and checking things off a list. I think it has much more to do with looking first to Jesus; opening His word to remind ourselves of His promises, asking God to help us be perfect.
David Mathis, executive director of desiringgod.org, writes:
The kind of perfection that Jesus says comes from his Father—and the kind he calls his disciples to pursue—does not find its sense of completion in delivering retributions for wrongs done. Rather, it is the perfection of a heart that finds so much fulfillment and satisfaction in the God of grace that it is able to extend grace to those that don’t deserve it. http://www.desiringgod.org/articles/rethinking-perfection
May we pray that God would fill us with such fulfillment and satisfaction in Him and taste the goodness of His grace. Let Matthew 7:7 be the meditation of our heart: “Ask and it will be given to you, seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you.”