Remember that Scripture in Matthew about “being perfect” because God is perfect? Actually, Matthew 5:48 says, “Therefore you shall be perfect, just as your Father in heaven is perfect.” In a more, let’s get real with it version, the Message says, “In a word, what I’m saying is, Grow up. You’re kingdom subjects. Now live like it. Live out your God-created identity. Live generously and graciously toward others the way God lives toward you.”
As someone who has often been troubled by this idea of perfection, not quite grasping how a mere human being can ever quite attain anything at all that would feel the least bit perfect to God, I’m starting to see a light in the window. In fact, what I’m starting to see is that it’s not about me trying to overcome my flaws, get a face lift or clean up every nook and cranny of my life, but it’s all about God. It’s about focusing my heart and mind on the things that cause me to grow up, and grow closer to being what he actually designed me to be. I’m unique. I’m a one-of-a-kind, there’s not another one anywhere, quite like me person. And the fact is, so are you! In that regard, we have only one choice then and that’s to become more of what God wanted, more perfectly fit to his plan, and less focused on whether we look good in spandex. It’s pretty simple really and yet the concept is life changing.
I like Eugene Peterson’s version from the Message Bible because it gets to the point of the problem for all of us who suffer slightly over our imperfections. We suffer over imperfections that don’t even matter. Antoine de Saint Exupery wrote, “Perfection is achieved, not when there is nothing more to add, but when there is nothing left to take away.”
I don’t know about you, but all of this makes me feel better somehow. I can lighten up on myself about all the glaring flaws and crazy aspects of myself. I’m free then to explore those things that God would say are mine to pursue because they are perfectly me. The only way I get closer to being “perfect as my Father in heaven in perfect” is if I grow up and live like a child of God, embracing my true identity and being loving and gracious toward others. That direction, that possibility actually exists because I can strive for that kind of perfection. Today, I’ll be open to getting rid of one more thing that really isn’t mine, whether it’s stored in a box in my closet or stored in the closet of my heart, and then move closer to the light, to the One who has a perfect design for my life. After all, He’s the Potter and He knew exactly what He created me to become. I’m perfectly happy with that plan.
May you see God’s gracious and generous and perfect hand at work in your life today.