Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Attaining Perfection-DD 5/4/2011

"For we do not have a high priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but One who has been tempted in all things as we are, yet without sin. Therefore let us draw near with confidence to the throne of grace, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need." Heb 4:15-16

As we pursue spirituality and godliness in our lives, we sometimes view it as an impossibly mammoth task and wonder who can accomplish all that is required. It is like needing to lose 30 pounds while being surrounded by all of your favorite unhealthy foods. It is like needing to exercise for the preservation of your life while considering your expensive mattress, comfortable chair and brand new HDTV. We know what we should do and we may even have the ability to do it intermittently but a permanent and perfect change looms as large and insurmountable as Yosemite's El Capitan is to a novice climber.

Beloved, there are three things to consider when we have such thoughts. First, we must define perfection within its biblical context. In Matt 5:24, Christ commands his disciples to "be perfect even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect." The context for the word here is not to attain Gods perfection (which really is impossible) but to attain its likeness by being finished, complete, pure and holy. The term was originally used to describe a mechanism that had all of its parts which operated according to its design. In humans, when we accept God, we have all we need and must operate in a manner consistent with our maker. Job was described as perfect in Job 1:1 but later, fault was found with him in 9:20 and 42:6. Does this represent a contradiction in scripture? NO! It offers insight into the meaning of the word. God was pleased with his life because it was lived in accordance with His will and was done so consistently. This is the perfection we can and must all attain.

Second, when we struggle in our pursuit and attainment of biblical perfection, we are to be a reassured that our Savior took on the same flesh we have and exceeded the meaning of the word. By taking on flesh, he was subject to all of the threats and temptations we all are, yet he did not sin, Heb 4:15. He is not one who sat at some distance and judged, but went through what we go through and therefore is compassionate about our suffering and challenges.

Lastly, because of these things, he is our help in attaining the perfection to which we are called. It is Jesus who has the words of life. As he spoke them to his disciples thousands of years ago, they continue to be spoken to our hearts and are available to us in the Holy Scriptures. We have everything we need to become everything we are called to be. We need only to fortify ourselves against that which would destroy us and get started on that diet, that exercise program and that climb. Let us pursue godly perfection in all that we do.

Loving Like Jesus,


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