Thoughts from daily Bible reading for today – October 19, 2020
But you are called to something higher: Be perfect, as your Father in heaven is perfect. Matthew 5:48
Perfection is not attained in this life. In fact, those who think they are perfect feed their pride and grow into pretentious people—attempting to impress by affecting greater importance. Sadly, this sort of pseudo spirituality only separates relationships—it creates space between God and others. Pretense is unable to invite in other people for fear of being found imperfect, which is precisely how loving relationships grow—by embracing imperfections. Pretense poisons relationships.
Wisely, Jesus reminds His followers of a higher calling to the holy standard of their Father in heaven. Our loving Lord has perfect love, perfect knowledge and perfect character. He is who we aspire to become. Though we can never attain— we remain humble but by grace ever making progress—so we are hopeful and we stay faithful, focused on heaven’s perfect state as the finish line of life’s race grows us more into our identity in Christ. We are learning to freely love others as our Lord loves us.
“I don’t mean to say I am perfect. I haven’t learned all I should even yet, but I keep working toward that day when I will finally be all that Christ saved me for and wants me to be” (Philippians 3:12, TLB).
Paul, the rock star Christian of the early church, confessed his imperfections. He was a work in process—always learning until he finished his work and went to be with Jesus in heaven. One word of encouragement—not being perfect is not a sin. By God’s grace we are learning to become good, better and best in our love and obedience to Jesus, and in our love and service to others. When we fall short of perfection we are humbled, but not destined for hell. Empathy grows in a heart empty of pretentious perfection, and is able to be real in growing relationships.
We are never to stop seeking the Lord and desiring to be more like Him, but we do so out of a heart of love, instead of a morally superior law keeper. Your love and influence will grow in another, when she sees you as a fellow struggler, stumbling and falling along the way, but getting up and learning how to love better. Pretense judges, humility loves. Pretense builds relational walls, humility builds relational bridges. Pretense hides behind pseudo perfection, humility comes out with vulnerable imperfections. Seek to be like your perfect Father in heaven, knowing perfection is only attained there. Cut loose pretentious perfection and firmly grasp God’s perfect love!
“Because the earlier commandment was weak and did not reconcile us to God effectively, it was set aside— after all, the law could not make anyone or anything perfect. God has now introduced a new and better hope, through which we may draw near to Him” (Hebrews 7:18-19, Voice).
Heavenly Father, I pray my imperfect love will more and more be replaced by your perfect love, in Jesus’ name, amen.
Who do I need to become more vulnerable with about my imperfections?
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