How to be Perfect when You Know You’re Not
(Note: Upon the advice of the leaders in my writer’s group, I’m changing the schedule for posting on my blog. You’ll no longer receive three posts on Wednesdays. On Monday, I’ll post my devotion to start your week with Food for Thought. On Wednesday, I’ll post the Crumbs category to reinforce the devo with scriptures, pictures and quotes. And on Friday, you’ll receive the recipe just in time for the weekend. 🙂 Hopefully, this will be less overwhelming for you. If you have an opinion about my decision, you’re welcome to share it. I’m open to suggestions.)
As parents, when our young children argue with us, what do we do? I know there were times I’d get exasperated and react on their level. I’d like to think I responded more often with the wisdom God had given me as a mature adult.
What do you think? Does a child’s arguing come from a rebellious heart? Or is it perhaps a cry for understanding in a confusing world? I think of this now as I question God on a specific scripture. Matthew 5:48 commands us to “be perfect, therefore, as (our) heavenly Father is perfect.”
How do you react to this verse? Do you go into a tailspin? Are you intimidated? Or do you dismiss the possibility as ludicrous? Perhaps you agree with me. I want to be obedient to God’s commands. However, I tend to argue with Him on this one.
Really, Lord? You can’t be serious. I don’t aspire to perfection in this world. For two reasons: One, it’s impossible. And two, I want people to like me. And nobody likes a so-called “perfect” person. Besides, there’s only been one person who’s lived a perfect life. And that was you! (Matthew 1:20-23)
In case we miss God’s call in Matthew, scripture presents it another way in I Peter 1:15-16. “But just as he who called you is holy, so be holy in all you do, for it is written: ‘Be holy because I am holy.’” God doesn’t say, “Be holy because you can.” He says, “Be holy because I AM . . . .”
The world gives holiness a “goodie-two-shoes” connotation. This may be because all too often Christians come across as “holier than thou.” Why do we do that? We sing Holy, Holy, Holy to and about God. But we wouldn’t dare sing it about ourselves or one another. Of course, that’s as it should be.
In My Utmost for His Highest, Oswald Chambers says, “Beware of that human holiness that is not based on the atonement of the Lord. It has no value for anything except a life of isolation—it is useless to God and a nuisance to man.”
Get ready for the good news. God’s call to holiness isn’t a command for us to live a perfect life. Thank goodness for that! Rather, it’s an offering from God to live His life in and through us.
How then can we answer God’s call to holiness when we know we aren’t perfect?
- Acknowledge He’s God and we’re not.
- Turn to and trust Him for understanding.
- Confess every sin that short circuits His power.
- Yield every area of our lives to Him.
- Be filled with Him.
- Be poured out for Him.
The work is God’s grace, not our goodness. The purpose is God’s glory, not our success. We are merely the cart that transports the ark. We’re the donkey that carries the Anointed One. And we’re the channel through which He pours His Spirit. You and I have nothing to brag about. Yet, we have much to be thankful for.
We all know God alone is perfect. For Him to choose us to display His holiness is beyond comprehension. And yet, we need not argue with Him about it. Considering His grace, how can we not respond to His offer? How can we not respond to His call to holiness?