Be perfect therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect. Matthew 5:48
Perfection, a hefty goal.
Whoa, what a hefty command. Perfection, often sought after, is rarely achieved.
In this passage, Matthew instructs Christ’s followers to seek perfection, but not just any perfection, but to be perfect as their Father in Heaven is perfect. Or, perhaps to seek the perfect example set by Christ, for both God the Father and God the Christ Jesus are perfect.
But reality tells us that to be perfect like either Jesus or our Heavenly Father is an unattainable goal, … and it sets us up for failure. God and Jesus cannot set a lower standard because of who they are. However, we do have the joy and perhaps relief of knowing that Jesus met God’s standard on our behalf. Jesus lived a perfect life, he became the ultimate sacrificial lamb who died for all of us, and whose righteousness we will bear when we come before God our Father.
What does that mean for us?
So, does this now excuse us from seeking and striving to be better? From trying to follow the example Jesus gave us? Absolutely not!
As Christians, we have a goal, which is to be like Jesus. It is a lifelong quest, and we will not attain it, here on earth. But this cannot stop us from striving. However, this does allow us to not berate ourselves in our failures causing us to give up!
We have a helper and a guide to see us through this. We have the gift of the Holy Spirit who resides in us. Yield to his wisdom and guidance, and he will show you, impress upon you, that which you should strive for. It is His job!
Holy Spirit, our helper
So, don’t strive for a level of unattainable perfection to be your measuring stick of success. Not just in your walk as a Christian, but also not in your parenting, or your role as a spouse, or in your work, be that in the home or outside the home. Striving for unattainable anything sets you up for failure, which only breeds disillusion and leads to giving up.
Set for yourself goals that are attainable. Goals that are smart. Smart because they can be attained. Sure, they will take some work, possibly self denial, practice and a change in your behavior, but they can be achieved. Start with just one. Put it into daily practice, until it becomes second nature. Then set a second, higher one. Success breeds success, and you will know God’s peace, when you seek it.