May 24 I Monday
1 Chronicles 22-24
“Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect.” —Matthew 5:48
The above verse is an exceptionally tall order, one that God knows we are incapable of keeping. With the exception of Jesus, no one is perfect or ever will be, so what did Jesus mean when He said, “Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect?”
Being perfect is not at all natural to us. It has to be supernatural, which involves the Spirit of God filling our lives. To be perfect in what Jesus is saying does not mean “to be flawless” as we would use the word “perfect” today. The Greek word teleios used in the verse does not mean “flawless,” but perfect in the sense of “being put to use for the purpose it was made.” To illustrate, if I were to take my pen and write something with it, it is being used for the purpose in which it was made. It may be an old, cheap pen, scratched and half full of ink, but it works and is perfect for its purpose.
When Jesus said, “Be perfect,” He is asking us to be what God created us to be. What were we created to be? We were created to be in the likeness of God’s moral image, which means we are to express that image. The defining quality of God’s moral image is love. In fact, God is love, and everything in the Christian life flows out of that. Although we have the old nature with all its flaws to battle with, the love of God is to flow through us in blessings and benefits to others. We are perfect only to the measure in which God’s character is being displayed in us. We cannot do this by imitating God, but by allowing Christ to live His life in us and through us.
Perfection is about being what God created us to be, and when Jesus said, “Be perfect,” He was saying that despite our failures, sin and brokenness, we allow God to manifest His character in us, bringing us to an ever-increasing likeness of His moral image. In this life, we will never fully achieve the moral character of God, but that is the end purpose for which we were created and for which the Spirit of God is at work in our lives.
Despite our failures, weaknesses, battered pasts and brokenness, if we are in Christ, God will manifest His character in us. Then, out of our hearts, the flow of God’s love reaching out to others is the means by which we can be perfect as our heavenly Father is perfect.
Prayer: Dear Lord, help me to fulfill the purpose for which I was created. May Your love fill my heart and be reflected in my interactions with others. Thank You, Lord.