Pursuing Perfection

“I’m doing the best I can”

“Nobody’s perfect, so give me a break”

“I am what I am, and everyone, including God, needs to accept me as I am”

“I’m too old (substitute ‘young’, ‘busy’, ‘sick’, etc….) to change now”

“I’m only human”

These are just a few of the excuses we can come up with to avoid the real work of ‘change’.  And, we are not talking about changing someone else, or changing the world, we are talking about changing ourselves.  Pursuing perfection.

I guess I could have easily said ‘Achieving Perfection’, but that would be mostly an illusion.  As long as we are in this earthly body, we will fall some short of actual perfection.

“Well, if we are going to fall short anyways, then what is the purpose of even trying?”

Because it is the command of Christ.  Not a recommendation, and not a request.

A legitimate question at this point might be, “What does it mean to be perfect?”  The best answer I can give, is when everything you do, say, or think is what Christ would do, say, or think, then you have arrived.  Until then we should be ‘pursuing’ this goal.

Of course, the next question might be, “What does it mean to be like Christ?”  The best answer I could give on this one would be using Christ’s own words, paraphrased, of course:  “I don’t say or do anything on my own, but what the Father says or does.”  In other words, in order to be like Christ means your life is not your own.  You don’t always get to do, say, or think on the things you want to.  Is this easy?  Mostly, it is not.  There are times when it is easy, but many times when it is not easy.

Why is it such a challenge?  The simplest answer is because we are living in a battlefield between two opposing forces – the Holy Spirit and our flesh.  They are fighting to gain control.  It is not a war that is fought and decided, and never has to be dealt with again.

Normally when we think of the ‘flesh’ we tend to only focus on sexual things, but we sometimes dismiss the other things such as pride, ego, eating, sleeping, conversation, need for recognition, among others.  Not all of these deal with sin, but they are still strongly influenced by our flesh nature.

In order for Christ to complete His mission, He had to bring his whole being into conformance to the will of the Father.  Mind, soul, and body must all be submitted.  For a small example – on the day Christ was crucified, he hadn’t slept the whole night before.  He was either performing those tasks associated with the Last Supper, or praying in the Garden.  In another small example, we see the disciples grabbing ears of corn and eating them straight from the field.  There are a couple of things to note about this example:

  1. We don’t read that Christ was eating corn, only the disciples.
  2. You have to be mighty hungry to eat raw corn right off the stalk.

What can we deduce from this?  Christ regularly fasted.  So much so, the disciples are trying to find anything they can eat, even if it is raw corn.  Why would He fast?  To bring His body into subjection.

So, what happens when we fail?  Isn’t that reason enough to simply say, “What’s the use?”  According to scripture, apparently, this excuse is insufficient – along with all the other excuses listed at the top of this posting.  You must continue to put the effort into ‘pursuing perfection’.

What about comparing ourselves to others, so we might find out how we are doing on this ‘road to perfection’?  Uh, no, that won’t work, either.  Each path is different, with different challenges, different circumstances, and different expectations.  The only ruler that can be used for comparing and measuring your progress is Christ, Himself.

2 Responses to “Pursuing Perfection”

  1. Carol Gilham Says:

    Holy Spirit, fill me with more of You!

  2. beamcguire@gmail.com Says:

    Excellent blog and great food for thought! Blessings…

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