I’ve been thinking a lot about the word “perfect” lately. It’s a word I tend to run from, or exhaust myself trying to achieve (and ultimately, failing every time).
I, Rachel Williams, am so ridiculously imperfect. So much so, that when I TRY to be perfect, I feel like such a hypocrite and my mind freaks out knowing that I’ll eventually fail and have to admit my imperfect nature yet again.
“Perseverance over perfection.” “Perfect is an illusion.” “Perfection is the enemy of progress.” And on on and we go. Circling social media we find tons of motivational quotes reminding us to give up the idea of perfection because it doesn’t exist. Comforting thoughts to someone like me who tends to live in the vicious cycle of strive–fail–stop. So if we are looking at “perfection” through the lens of the world, I agree! It is an unattainable illusion we must be careful not to portray…we will FOREVER be imperfect without the hand of our Perfector.
I am a disciple of Jesus Christ. It is my life’s goal to learn from Him, surrender to Him, and glorify Him in every situation I find myself. You know what He tells me? “You therefore must be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect.” (Matthew 5:48)
Why would He command something that’s so unattainable? Unless, of course, God’s definition of perfection is completely different than anything the world puts out there. (Much like His definitions of Love, Grace, and Peace…)
Keep in mind, this is the last verse in Matthew 5–the chapter of the Bible that holds Christ’s first sermon that turned the religious world on its head. This monumental sermon continues on after this verse, but He set the stage for His expectation of His followers.
Am I to use “that’s not my personality” as an excuse for disobedience?
Am I to shrug off His commands because it takes more effort than I’m willing to put in?
Am I to respond to others and behave in a way that puts myself first?
Is that attitude one of perfection and holiness?
Hang with me! I know I may be making your blood pressure rise and anxiety creep in. (You may be thinking… “HOW is this possible!? I do everything I can for everyone else and my life is still a mess! I can’t be perfect! I mess up every single day!”) Friend, let’s change our definition of perfect.
Christ doesn’t want you to look perfect, He commands us to be perfect. That isn’t going to happen by anything we strive for out of our own strength! It’s not our perfection He needs; it’s our surrender to HIS perfection, it’s taking His Holiness as our own, it’s being made NEW in Christ. It’s GROWING in faith, handling EVERY SINGLE MOMENT after that personal crucifixion in His strength, with His grace, for His glory.
(Romans 6, Colossians 2, Galatians 2)
James 1:2 Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds,3 for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness.4 And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.”
1 Thessalonians 3:11 Now may our God and Father himself, and our Lord Jesus, direct our way to you, 12 and may the Lord make you increase and abound in love for one another and for all, as we do for you, 13 so that he may establish your hearts blameless in holiness before our God and Father, at the coming of our Lord Jesus with all his saints.
1 Peter 1:3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! According to his great mercy, he has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, 4 to an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for you, 5 who by God’s power are being guarded through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time. 6 In this you rejoice, though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been grieved by various trials, 7 so that the tested genuineness of your faith—more precious than gold that perishes though it is tested by fire—may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ. 8 Though you have not seen him, you love him. Though you do not now see him, you believe in him and rejoice with joy that is inexpressible and filled with glory, 9 obtaining the outcome of your faith, the salvation of your souls.
“Rejoice and be glad” Jesus tells us. (Matthew 5:10-12) Paul reminds us to rejoice in our suffering (Col. 1:24) and to “rejoice always” (1 Thess. 5:16)! Endurance my friends. Endurance through trials will bring us to perfection in Christ. Lacking in NOTHING.
You guys, why wouldn’t we count it all joy when we face trials? Every single trial we face in faith, brings us closer to the image of our Savior. It brings us closer to perfection with Him! Isn’t that WONDERFUL? Isn’t that the GOAL of a Christian?
Perfection ISN’T a life without mistakes.
Perfection ISN’T a rockin’ hard body or beautiful features.
Perfection ISN’T a mom who nails her Pinterest projects and pictures on Instagram.
Perfection ISN’T a life without physical, financial, or relational struggle.
From what I read, perfection is a life clothed in the image of Christ.
Perfection is being seen blameless before the Father.
Perfection is a soul choosing daily surrender to its Creator.
Perfection IS continual struggle, fighting the flesh and walking by the Spirit.
Perfection isn’t something we attain, but something we receive when we are obedient to Him.
If we define perfection the way God does in scripture, we WILL rejoice–no matter the circumstance! Because we know that with every trial we face, through our faithful endurance, we are being made perfect.
PS– I would love to study the scriptures with you personally–online or face to face. If you have any questions about what you read here at Radiant Mission, please reach out. Let’s go to God’s Word together. (My opinion doesn’t ever matter, His always does!)