Done anything evil today? Odd question, isn’t it? The world defines evil more on feelings. But from God’s perspective it’s quite simple. Following Him is good; not following Him is evil. So the correct answer to my question is…Yes or Not yet. Here’s what I mean.
Paul wrote that we all have sinned and fall short of God’s glory. 1 But now we are new creations, 2 and that’s what counts. 3 Yet we continue to mess up. We fail. We are not only tempted by selfish desires, we at times rush after them…instead of the One who calls us.
Doesn’t sound very encouraging, does it? But there’s a lesson here. Remember Jesus’ solution? Be perfect, therefore, as your Heavenly Father is perfect. 4 So that’s all we have to do. Just be perfect. Piece of cake. Hmm.
“Perfect” is a journey, not a destination.
Ever wake up in the morning and announce, Today I will be perfect. No? Ah, even before we rise, we fall. We know only God is perfect and we are not God. Therefore, we decide, it is impossible for us to become perfect. But that’s not what Be perfect means.
The Greek word translated perfect refers to completeness, especially in moral character, integrity, truthfulness, and goodness. 5 But the word before it, translated as Be, is not about having achieved, something. Its focus is on working toward and developing. 6
Taken together, Jesus’ instruction that we Be perfect means to work toward and develop within ourselves the completeness of God’s own nature. And that complete nature is found in Jesus Himself.
And the way has been made clear for us.
He spoke the truth and did what He said He would do. He had compassion for everyone and wanted all to follow Him, know peace, and have eternal life. He was patient and kind. He helped, encouraged and loved others. He was, and is, love.
Jesus was saying simply…Take my yoke (everything about my life and mission) upon you and learn from me. 7 In a world of hate, ridicule, envy and pride, Jesus says, Follow me. To people scarred by failure, anxiety and despair, He says, Be perfect.
When you rise in the morning boldly say, Today I will continue becoming perfect so people will see Jesus in my life. At the end of the day ask, Did I do anything evil today? And may each day you become more complete as your Heavenly Father is complete.
Chuck Graham is Founder and Executive Director of Ciloa, an international ministry devoted to encouraging others and teaching them how to encourage one another. He is also an author and speaker. Chuck and his wife, Beverly, live in Lawrenceville, Georgia, USA. Learn more about Chuck and Ciloa at www.Ciloa.org.
Footnotes: (1) Read Romans 3:22-24. (2) Read 2 Corinthians 5:17. (3) Read Galatians 6:15. (4) Read Matthew 5:48. (5) This is the Greek word teleios. (6) This is the Greek word esomai. (7) Read Matthew 11:29a.
Pictures: Banner: Seeking God, from “Is God’s Love What You Need to Change Your Life”, CRU.org. 1st: Matthew 5:48, creator unknown. 2nd: Perfect, SlidePlayer.com. 3rd: Take My Yoke, Lettering by Caitlin Bristow, LetteredLife.com.