Pursuing Perfection, Part II

As we established in Pursuing Perfection, Part I, God wants us to be perfect. He knows that won’t happen through our own efforts, though, so He made a way for us to be perfect. Our own efforts won’t bring perfection. The world’s path won’t either. Only God’s way provides a way for perfection to become a reality.

You’re Already Perfect!Path to Perfection

Consider the following people’s lives. If you read the scripture reference, you’ll actually see these individuals described as “perfect” “mature,” having “wisdom,” “blameless” “righteous” and even “without blemish.” All of these get at the idea of perfection in the eyes of God.

If these individuals and groups of people – with their human frailties and significant mistakes – are seen as perfect (without fault) to God, why can’t we, even on this side of heaven, be considered “perfect” too?

How do we reach perfection?

“People throw away what they could have by insisting on perfection, which they cannot have, and looking for it where they will never find it.” (Edith Shaeffer)

If perfection is impossible, why bother? Why not coast through life with a “good enough” mentality? For two reasons. First, God tells us to strive for perfection. Second, He has provided a way for us to be perfect.

We can be perfect through…

  1. God – His grace perfects, confirms, strengthens and establishes us (1 Peter 5:10).
  2. Christ – He has already achieved perfection for us (Hebrews 10:14).
  3. The Holy Spirit – Our human effort blinds us to the process of perfection the Holy Spirit leads us through (Galatians 3:3).
  4. God’s Word – Imperfect hands + the perfect tool (His Word) = adequately equipped (2 Timothy 3:16, 17).
  5. Ministry – Matures the body of Christ to perfection (Ephesians 4:11-13).
  6. Sufferings – Jesus, the author (perfector) of our salvation, was the perfect leader because of His sufferings (Hebrews 2:10).
  7. Love – Drives out our fear, including the fear of not being perfect (1 John 4:18).

The Pressure is Off!

“Grace is God acting in our lives to do what we cannot do on our own.” (Dallas Willard)

God perfected us through Christ, and nothing we do can reach the goal of perfection. But, that doesn’t mean we just give up and coast through life.

Scripture clearly says that perfection comes through Christ; it’s instantaneous at salvation. But, it also say that it’s at the same time a progressive work in our lives. Pursuing Perfection, Part III gets at how that progression exists based on scripture.

DISCUSSION: How does your life change knowing that the pressure is off to be perfect because, through Christ, you already are perfect?

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16 Replies to “Pursuing Perfection, Part II”

  1. I think the issue for us is that when faced with sin in our lives or imperfection the answer is not to "do better" but the path in dealing with that should be "to pursue Christ'. If we are doing that then we shall deal with those things effectively.

  2. Kari, I appreciate seeing "You're Already Perfect!" and the list of names, both individuals and groups, who were deemed "perfect." Knowing some of the blemishes, for example, Noah getting drunk, I am encouraged by Scripture to recognize perfection through God's grace in Christ is my reality. I either embrace it or I don't, but either way, God makes it true. And if God makes it true, it is true indeed.

    1. The stories of these individuals helps me out a lot too. Gives me hope, especially when I mess up. His truth gives me hope, and sometimes that is all I have keeping me wanting to live life.

  3. I have been commenting on the book of Galatians and the discussion of perfection certainly comes up in Paul's rebuttal to the Pharisaic Christians, who defined perfection through the compliance in the law. However, even today we have a distorted view of perfection and it is defined by men not God. I love your imagery reflecting the journey of Salvation… It is a life-long journey and ends not at death but at eternity's doorway before God who smiles and seals us as perfect in His eyes.

    Good commentary….

  4. Thankfully, I don't feel like I have to be perfect for God – it's the world or myself I try to be perfect for. What I need to learn at the gut level is that you can't control life by being perfect. I think you might have talked about that in your last post. Good thoughts, Kari!

    1. Being completely acceptable to God sure does take the pressure off. Caring less about man’s approval & more about God’s is the journey of perfection. So thankful that Jesus made it all possible.

  5. I want to do more for someone who says, don't worry I have taken care of that for you. Someone who has lifted a load from me has my loyalty, someone who loves me unconditionally when I fail, I want to love back. Knowing I do not have attain some kind of too high standard makes me want to live a Godly life. The more I grow in my knowledge of Him the more I mature. Maturity never ends here, but complete Christlikeness awaits us on the other side for eternity . Good post Kari

  6. Hello Kari,

    Jesus died on the cross to allow us to be free of sin and be "perfect." Though we still live in a sinful world where we fall, God's grace and mercy is ever present in the life of a person who strives toward Him. Great thoughts!

  7. The more I've examined this truth, I think it's something that we really only grasp spiritually – and it's so difficult to understand even then. An intellectual understanding just doesn't impact me because it seems so "Sunday School-ish" and it just doesn't sink in. Truly being hit by this seems to just be a work of the Spirit, and I can't really understand why it's more powerful at some times than at others.

    1. I can’t explain it either, but I understand what you mean. Grace for the moment, perhaps. I remember life before the Holy Spirit had free reign in me, and life is WAY better with Him even on the “less” days.

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