I Am -Not- Perfect
“I’m not perfect.” Phew, glad I got that off my chest, now I can go about my day. NOT! Too many times we as Christians, (and when I say we I am pointing at ME) use the saying we aren’t perfect as a cop out to not feel guilty. Of course we aren’t perfect, Jesus even says in Matthew 5:48b “your heavenly Father is perfect.” See, we can’t be perfect because God is perfect, and how can we be as perfect as God? Except, I didn’t read the whole verse, let alone the whole CONTEXT (How many times do we do that?).
Let’s see here, Matthew 5, that’s part of the Sermon on the Mount; we have Jesus speaking to a mass of people, and in it he has some important truths for us to live by. Just in chapter 5 we read that we are a blessed people if we don’t dwell on richly things, we see our humility, our pain, out hunger, our need for mercy, and desire for peace and purity, and live our lives for God. That seems like a good idea; it looks like what Jesus is saying is a great thing to try to live by. Yes, there is pain and suffering, but there is a reward through Christ that far outweighs any of this hurt.
Then he talks about us being a light (one of my favorite section of verses) and how Jesus fulfills the Law. After that comes Jesus’ take on the ten commandments, and understanding that it is more than just following the commandments, but going beyond what they are just saying, and doing something greater. He makes our way of living to be a heart issue, not a works issue. By this time I am getting a little overwhelmed with the weight of responsibility, but I believe through God I can do these things, and then he puts the icing on the cake. He gives us all of these things and says, (NASB) Matthew 5:48, “Therefore, you are to be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect. WOW!
Such a tall order; He tells us all these things that we are to do, and yes they are hard, but still possible, but then He says be PERFECT?! Seems a little far-fetched. Well let’s look at the word perfect. In Greek it is teleios and has the meaning of “full completion.” So, let’s put the whole puzzle together. Jesus wants us to be a blessed people through our humility, pain, and peace...as well as being a light, living beyond the Ten Commandments, and looking to God with a servant’s heart. Then he ends this section by saying that we can do all the things that he said, just like God is doing. We have the ability to fully complete these tasks; in essence, we have the ability to be perfect.
That seems crazy, but it’s the truth. Christ wants us to walk in His steps, and live a fully completed (perfect) life through Him. It is possible, but ONLY through Christ. Hebrews 10:14 says, “For by one offering He (Jesus through His death) has perfected for all time those who are sanctified.” We are sanctified, set apart and perfected, through Christ. That makes us perfect! And we can stay that way; like 1 John 1:6-7, “6 If we say that we have fellowship with Him and yet walk in the darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth; 7 but if we walk in the Light as He Himself is in the Light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus His Son cleanses us from all sin.” We are not only made perfect through Christ, but also kept perfect through our faith and his continual cleansing.
If we truly believe we are a Christian, and are following after Christ, then we are truly perfect. Yes, we are human, and therefore we flounder and stumble, and make fools of ourselves, but through Christ we are perfect. It is like a father who sees their child taking their first steps; yes they trip and tumble to the ground, but the father doesn’t see a failure, he sees triumph because the child gets back up. We are perfect through Christ because we continue to live in a way that we desire to complete all the Jesus has asked us to do. It may be hard, and perhaps take our whole lives, but our heart of love gives us the desire to live for Christ.
I guess that really does mean “I (emphasis on I) am not perfect,” but only through Jesus am I perfected. So, don’t use the cop out, “well I guess I’m not perfect” as an excuse for sin, but if anything use it to realize we are perfected only through Jesus and that gives us the joy to live the best that we can. Just as Paul says in 2 Corinthians 12:10, “Therefore, I am well content with weaknesses, with insults, with distresses, with persecutions, with difficulties, for Christ’s sake; for when I am weak, then I am strong.” May Christ bring you the strength and perfection to live a life worthy of the calling of the name Christian.