Perfection Might Not be What You Think It Is

Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect.

The disciple is not above his master: but every one that is perfect shall be as his master.

Finally, brethren, farewell. Be perfect, be of good comfort, be of one mind, live in peace; and the God of love and peace shall be with you.

That the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works.

With the above verses, I don’t see how one could conclude perfection is not possible.

But, I know human nature quite well! No matter how often the Bible may say a thing, it is no guarantee that people will believe that thing.

Typically, the best run around on perfection is to say that “perfect” merely means mature. Which is fine except “be perfect [mature] as your Father in heaven is perfect [mature]” still stands!

It also puts you in the weird position of trying to prove that God “matured.”

As I said yesterday, the problem with most notions of pursuing perfection is that it turns into a morality examination. It becomes a self-centered contest of virtue, usually leading to judgmentalism.

I mean, hey, what’s the point of being perfect if I can’t rub it in your face?

Christian perfection is not about morality, it’s about Christ-likeness.

Morality is hard to produce in people.

A few months ago we were in Arizona and went to the Petrified Forest. They have problems with tourists taking petrified wood.

They did a test. On some trails they put up signs saying that 14-tons of petrified wood is taken every year, soon there won’t be any wood left to come see. On other trails they put no signs. Then they put out petrified wood in plain view!

Guess which trails had more wood stolen? The trails with the signs! “Hey, if 14-tons of wood gets stolen, it must be pretty easy to do. Everyone is doing it. I don’t want to miss out!”

As one analyst of the experiment said, “the subtext message [of the signs] is that a lot of people just like you are doing this. It legitimizes the undesirable behavior.”

Christ-like perfection is something you should strive for. You should not worry about how well others are doing in comparison. Perfect people grow in love, not in superiority complexes.

Should you encourage others to pursue perfection? Yes, the Bible does. Paul said to the Corinthian church, “and this also we wish, even your perfection.” But trying to force perfection with a focus on morality won’t work.

It’s you. It’s Christ. Grow into Him.

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