Psa 37:37 “Mark the perfect man, and behold the upright: for the end of that man is peace.”
This may seem like a silly question to some, but have you ever strived to be perfect? The pursuit of striving to be perfect is a good thing not a bad thing. If you have, it’s because the desire was built within you. Does that sound shocking? Let me shed some light on it.
First of all, we were created by God in His image. Genesis 1:27 says, “So God created people in His own image; God patterned them after Himself…” I know your parents conceived you. I know your mother gave birth to you. But it all started with God. He first created man in His image. Just as you take on appearance and qualities of your parents, so you were created to take on qualities of God. That is inherent within our being. God is perfect so would it then be surprising that we might want to strive for that perfection?
Our efforts toward perfection in the image of God were curtailed by sin. Romans 5:17-18 helps us see that before Jesus Christ, man was stuck in sin and that sin led us away from God’s image and perfection. It says, “The sin of this one man, Adam, caused death to rule over us, but all who receive God’s wonderful, gracious gift of righteousness will live in triumph over sin and death through this one man, Jesus Christ. Yes, Adam’s one sin brought condemnation upon everyone, but Christ’s one act of righteousness makes all people right in God’s sight and gives them life.”
The gift of reconciliation or having our sins forgiven and being made right and united with God comes to all who personally receive Jesus Christ as Savior. That happens by asking God to forgive you of all your sins and by asking Jesus to come into your heart to be your Savior and Lord. Upon that sincere request through prayer, the Holy Spirit of God comes to live within you in response to your request and life transformation is ready to happen. The Holy Spirit gives you the power over sin that you never before had.
In that light, the Apostle Paul wrote these words to us that again lead us back to striving for perfection. Col. 3:5-10 “Put to death, therefore, whatever belongs to your earthly nature: sexual immorality, impurity, lust, evil desires and greed, which is idolatry. Because of these, the wrath of God is coming. You used to walk in these ways, in the life you once lived. But now you must rid yourselves of all such things as these: anger, rage, malice, slander, and filthy language from your lips. Do not lie to each other, since you have taken off your old self with its practices and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge in the image of its Creator.”
Jesus said, “But you are to be perfect, even as your Father in heaven is perfect.” Matthew 5:48 That rocks our world in a bad way because we all know that we fall short in obeying Him perfectly. That is why we need to receive Him as Savior having our sins forgiven and receiving His inward power for transformation. That is when and where the desire to “be perfect” is reactivated in our life. We may have gotten lazy and apathetic or lethargic, but inwardly the desire to become “perfect” or more and more like Jesus is within us.
Having said all that, what is perfect? Well we know that God is perfect. We also know that Jesus is the perfect reflection of God. Jesus said in John 14:9 “… Anyone who has seen me has seen the Father…” We know that although Jesus was God in the flesh, He laid down His deity and humbled Himself to live as a man. Jesus did that from perfect selflessness. Man is mostly selfish. Jesus became totally selfless toward God and man. He lived his life ministering to those around Him.
In our desire and efforts to better ourselves which is a good thing, we often get too focused upon ourselves. We try to raise our personal standard and then unconscientiously raise the standard of expectation from those around us. That isn’t necessarily the best route to take. We find a better path to go down in Phil 2:3-8 “Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves. Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others. Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus: Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to death– even death on a cross!”
I don’t’ think self help books focus on this aspect of improvement. Serving God and man is seldom at the top of anyone’s list. Selflessness may be the greatest self improvement plan and step toward perfection you could ever take. It is what brings “salt” into this world.
Today’s Fresh Manna verse says “Mark the perfect man, and behold the upright: for the end of that man is peace.” Trying to reach some unattainable measure of perfection in your life might lead to never ending disappointment and frustration. But becoming more selfless – giving yourself over to loving and serving God and those around you will bring you much peace and joy and you will see transformation in your life – real heart transformation toward God’s measure of perfection!
In His Love,
Pastor Tim Burt
Published by Pastor Tim Burt
Copyright© 2008 Tim Burt, All rights reserved