Women know this word better than anyone. It haunts us every day. I know this word has been a prison for me over the years.
Voices all around us tell us what perfect should be. Our homes should look like museums and magazine pictures. Pictures plastered everywhere, and television tells us what perfect beauty is.
Social media splashes pictures of perfect families with perfect lives. Expectations of perfection surround us in every area of life.
We walk in and everyone puts their Church day face together. We look the part, we get dressed up, look nice, and appear to be doing perfectly fine.
We carry expectations of ourselves and others that only Jesus could live out.
I have been reading in Matthew over the last few months. I came to a scripture that made me think about perfection and what it truly means.
Matthew 5:48 (NASB) “Therefore, you are to be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect.”
I have always been a little confused about this scripture. Lately, I have been studying a little deeper. I began looking up some side verses in my study bible.
2 Corinthians 7:1 New International Version (NIV) 7 Therefore, since we have these promises, dear friends, let us purify ourselves from everything that contaminates body and spirit, perfecting holiness out of reverence for God.
Philippians 3:12-15 (NKJV) Not that I have already attained, or am already perfected; but I press on, that I may lay hold of that for which Christ Jesus has also laid hold of me. 13 Brethren, I do not count myself to have apprehended; but one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead, I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus. Therefore let us, as many as are mature, have this mind; and if in anything you think otherwise, God will reveal even this to you.
Here Paul is confessing that he has not attained perfection. He has not arrived yet. However, He IS pressing on towards that perfection in Christ.
How is he doing this?
We need to let go of our pasts, our sins, and our failures. We need to let go of those areas we have fallen short. We need to forgive those in our past who have hurt us or failed us in some way. Keep the lessons, but let go of the rest.
Are there places in your past, you have not left behind? Are there areas or relationships you need to grieve? Are there people you need to forgive?
Secondly, He is reaching forward to those things which are ahead. He is looking and moving forward. He is not standing still or going backward. His eyes are looking ahead. He is moving forward.
Where are your eyes? Are you looking back often?
Are you distracted by what is around you? Are you stuck and standing still?
Paul is pressing on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.
Perfection is a misconception.
The perfection I talked about at the beginning of this blog post is human-made perfection.
Moving forward and pressing on that we may lay hold of that for which Christ Jesus has also laid hold of us, is moving toward a Christ-bought perfection.
Religion tells us that we need to follow every rule and every law to perfection to be accepted.
A Relationship with Jesus tells us He perfects us.
Human-made perfection brews comparison. It causes strife and division.
Perfection can cause us to live in condemnation and shame. Those are not places God wants us to live. He wants us to allow His Word to convict us, bring us to repentance when there are things we need to change or do differently. He wants us to keep our eyes on Him and allow Him to show us the right way to go. He wants our beauty to start from the inside out. He starts with our hearts.
Do you find yourself living in condemnation, shame, or frustration because somehow you are always failing to reach perfection in any area?
Do you find yourself envying or jealous because others seem to be have reached this peak of perfection that somehow you can’t seem to reach or get to?
Do you feel like God doesn’t love you because you aren’t doing it all perfectly?
Do you find yourself feeling like a failure all the time?
I want to encourage you today. We are all walking this journey, Paul was talking about it. Paul was an amazing man of God, with an incredible testimony, yet he was still imperfect. However, he had not given up and he did not get stuck, instead he let go of what was behind him. His past had not been pretty either. He began reaching for what was ahead and moved forward towards the goal for the upward prize of God in Christ Jesus.
Lord, we confess we have not attained perfection, but we are pressing on together to lay hold of what Christ Jesus laid hold of for us. Help us to let go of what is behind us,, forgetting what is in the past,. Help us to grieve, bring conviction and repentance, and heal our hearts, Lord. help us to keep our eyes on You and keep moving forward towards the goal for the prize towards the upward call of God in Jesus Christ. Thank you for the healing and restoration that comes from you. Thank you that we have hope for what is ahead of us. Help us to encourage each other and spur each other on in that forward direction towards You. In Jesus, name. Amen!!!