Tuesday, August 27, 2013


But you are to be perfect, even as your Father in heaven is perfect.
                                                                                                                Matthew 5:48 (NLT)

Perfection is an intimidating term. Jesus gives this instruction and I feel hopeless to follow it. But I am encouraged when I read the same verse in the Common English Bible:

Therefore, just as your heavenly Father is complete in showing love to everyone, so also you must be complete.

Completeness sounds more doable than perfection. If I think about perfection as completeness, then I can see a way to begin the process toward perfection.

Yet even completeness can be misunderstood. As I am writing these words, a fellow church member sticks his head in my office and talks about all the various "balls" he is trying to keep in the air. If completeness is thought of as an attempt on our part to be all things to all people, then it becomes just another ball we juggle--a burden rather than a blessing. Surely this is not what Jesus means!

But if we think of completeness as the recognition and use of our gifts and abilities to glorify God, then moving toward perfection/completeness becomes the process of self-discovery, of learning who we are in Christ (Colossians 3:3). It is not about adding more items to an already full to-do list, but about pushing some of those items aside to journey inward, to move past the labels that describe what we do (parent, employee, child, volunteer, etc.) and to consider what it is that brings me the deepest joy. For when we consider that, we discover our place of completeness.

Living a faithful and obedient life in Christ is not about gritting your teeth and pushing through a jungle of "shoulds" and "oughts." The only "should" is that a faithful and obedient life should be a life of joy and peace. This is only possible when we strip away the "doing" that is burdensome, and instead attend to our "being." As we come to know who we are in Christ, we can live fully alive, from the depths of our being, and such a life is manifested in the joyful offering of our spiritual gifts, in fact, our whole selves, to the world.

No comments:

Post a Comment