Have you ever struggled with perfectionism? An anxious state of mind, that unless everything was in order, from health to friendships, family or finances, every detail of life had to be problem-free or a nagging sense of failure might keep you up at night?
Jesus said, “You therefore must be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect” (Matthew 5:48).
Before you sink into unmitigated despair, let’s dig you out of that pit and separate the world’s definition and God’s principle of perfection. Good news is here!
Perfectionism: The World’s Definition
The APA Dictionary defines perfectionism as: “the tendency to demand of others or of oneself an extremely high or even flawless level of performance, in excess of what is required by the situation”. In other words, expectation of flawless performance. That, in a phrase, is perfectionism in the eyes of the world. You know, olympic athletes who score, 10 out of 10, every time. Surgeons who never lose a patient. Students who get 100%, every test, every assignment. The world defines being perfect as our perfect performance outcome without a whiff of failure. A Mac that never bugs out. A phone that cannot glitch.
This is not God’s definition. Performance based perfection is flesh at its best, religion not relationship, pride’s trophy, a slick outward demonstration without inward revelation.
Perfectionism is the opposite of God’s perfect.
What does the Bible teach?
To the young ruler, Jesus said “If you would be perfect, go, sell what you possess and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow me.” (Matthew 19:21). In other words, perfect meant devotion, focus, passion for Jesus.
In prayer with the Father, for His disciples, Jesus prayed “I in them and you in me, that they may become perfectly one, so that the world may know that you sent me and loved them even as you loved me.” (John17:23). Our Lord prayed for us, that we would know perfect oneness with the Father, the Son, the Holy Spirit! He prayed we would encounter the joy of being wholly loved.
Perfect is the true state of being a glorious child of God!
Begin with God’s Perspective
Apostle Paul said, “Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.” (Romans 12:2). When we align with God’s systems and God’s principles, and allow the Word to transform our minds, we shift away from the world’s perspective and towards God. His will becomes known to us through His perspective. Then we can understand His good, acceptable and perfect will daily.
Is this even possible?
Jesus has already perfected us!
Hebrews 10:14 states, “For by a single offering He has perfected for all time those who are being sanctified.”
By the Cross, Jesus mercifully perfected His Bride. Look close. We are perfect, because He has done this for us!
Our hearts should leap for joy because of this truth: Jesus is “the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God” (Hebrews 12:2).
Little wonder the Lord commanded us to be perfect! Being in all time, the Lord had already purchased our capacity for perfect on the Cross!
His command is our invitation!
When we pursue oneness with God, in His love and His ways, this extraordinary grace to love as He has loved us becomes our every day applied truth. As we live God’s perfect, we are certain to transform our world!
The Perfect Walk
John the Beloved encourages the Church, “But whoever keeps his word, in him truly the love of God is perfected. By this we may know that we are in him: whoever says he abides in him ought to walk in the same way in which he walked.” (1 John 2:5-6)
As we keep His Word, the love of God is perfected in us.The Word is our catalyst as we pursue oneness with the Father.
The Word is within us: Christ within us, the Hope of Glory! (Col.1:27), helps us to walk as He walked.
Above all, Pursue Jesus!
Jesus is the Perfect Man. We encounter perfect as our reality when we pursue oneness, above all, with our Beloved Lord Jesus.
Step by step by step, as we choose His ways and walk in His abundant grace and righteousness, we are indeed made perfect in His love.
Is Perfect Possible? YES!
“There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear. For fear has to do with punishment, and whoever fears has not been perfected in love.” (1 John 4:18)
The clear truth remains, as we abide in Him, and He abides in us, perfect is our daily possible. Jesus promised, “As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Abide in my love.” (John 15:9).
Apart from Jesus we can do nothing, but in Christ, in fervent trust of God’s great love, in faith in His Name, there is nothing we cannot do!
So, is perfect really possible? Absolutely, for our beautiful Lord has made us perfect in Him.
As we keep pursuing oneness with Him, may His perfect love transform every area of our lives!
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