I’ve spent a whole lot of my life looking for perfect. I know that it’s out there… elusive, waiting to be discovered. If only I’ll find that one pin on Pinterest that will solve all my feelings of inadequacy, disorganization, and discontentment. Someday I’ll resolve my scheduling issues, have social media perfectly figured out, and know exactly where each of my children should be at any time of the day. Oh, and I won’t forget to take dinner out of the freezer the night before.
I’ll have a perfectly ordered social calendar, including getting birthday cards and monthly dinners with friends on the schedule. My business will be effective and reach many people for the glory of God and the Kingdom of Christ. My life will be...perfect. It’s just around the corner, I can feel it.
And 30-some years later, I’m still waiting to walk around that corner.
Let me let you in on a little secret. It’s all a lie. Sounds harsh, right? But guess what, it’s true!
I know, I know, “But what about Matthew 5:48,” you say, “where Jesus tells us to be ‘perfect as Your Heavenly Father is perfect’?” “Or 1 Peter 1:16 where we’re told to be ‘holy’?”
Ok, I’ll bite on that. Let’s look deeper into those verses and see how that affects us as believers who are influencing our world.
Matthew 5:48 is the middle of the Sermon on the Mount, where Jesus introduces His “upside-down” Kingdom to those who have been following Him along the way. He tells the crowd to love their enemies, that they are blessed when they mourn, and that they shouldn’t worry about tomorrow, but trust it to the One who cares for His creation. And, in fact, that verse about being perfect comes after He tells them to love their enemies. So, in reality, being perfect in this context has little or nothing to do with my ability to manage my household or business.
Hmm, so in God’s eyes, being “perfect” has very little to do with ME… but has more to do with how I see and respond to others. Being “perfect” in God’s eyes has to do with how I demonstrate His incredible and amazing love to those around me that are hurting (or hurting me out of their own pain). In God’s eyes, “perfect” has to do with showing His gospel hope to a world that is in need and living in a way that draws others to Him.
Yikes, if that’s true, than I’ve had this ALL WRONG. My view of perfect has everything to do with ME and how others perceive my life. God’s view of perfect has everything to do with Him and how others perceive Him through my life.
It is such an effective lie of our mortal enemy (that’s Satan, just so we’re clear) to make us believe that God is calling us to a life of perfection in our performance, appearance, or achievements. Instead, He’s calling us deeper into communion with His heart so we can learn to perfect our love for a hurting world and draw others to Him. Our job is just to “be” and let Him lead us in the “do”.
My prayer for us today in the pursuit of perfection:
Jesus, forgive me for thinking that perfect had anything to do with me. Help me to embrace the fact that the only perfection I can have is in Your finished work that has been gifted to my unworthy heart. Thank You for making it clear that the perfection You desire is a heart that is fully devoted to learning Your ways. Show me how I can use my influence to reach a hurting world for the Kingdom. Help me to set aside false pursuits of perfection that bring attention and focus to myself and pursue things which draw others to Your loving heart.