Perfection. It is the standard that we all try to meet and that we all fall short of. We are reminded constantly in our daily lives that we are unable to live up to it. We fall short of perfection at work after trying our best to obtain that promotion or raise. We fall short at home when we are unable to clean the house, make dinner, and get the kids into bed without a fight. We fall short of perfection in our spiritual lives as we try to white knuckle our own salvation. We even try to seek perfection when it comes to finding that person to spend the rest of our lives with, only to find out that no one can meet that standard.
In Matthew 5:48, Jesus utters an amazing and terrifying statement:
“Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect.”
We spend so much of our time and energy every single day attempting to reach perfection. We always, ALWAYS, fall short.
The Sermon on the Mount is filled with Jesus’ teachings that turned many traditional ideas upside down. But Jesus’s call to be perfect is striking. How are we, as beings marred by sin and constantly failing to reach perfection, able to live up to such a standard.
We are able to do so because the perfection Jesus calls us to is not a goal to reach or a status to obtain. Rather, it is how we resemble God when we participate in the Kingdom Ethics of Jesus. We are perfect, as our heavenly Father is perfect, when we: love our enemies, pray for those who persecute us, withhold judgement, feed the hungry, and deliver the good news.
This perfection is not something we obtain through increased effort but only through our resemblance to Jesus Christ through self sacrificial love.
We are never more perfect, as our heavenly Father is perfect, than when we look like Jesus.