“Be you, therefore, perfect, even as your Father which is in Heaven is perfect.”

Matthew 5:48

Always remember, “What is impossible with men is possible with God” (Mt. 19:26).

“There’s no way!”

That’s our usual reaction to Jesus’ words in today’s Manna when He talks about our being “perfect, even as our Father in Heaven is perfect.”  And, to that response Jesus would say “That’s right—in your own strength.  But, in Me. . .by abiding in Me and walking in My Spirit. . .you can do all things because I’m the One Who enables you to do it” (Jn. 15:1-7; Rom. 8:1; Gal. 2:20; Phil. 4:13).

Part of our negative reaction to this Manna is our misunderstanding of the word “perfect.”  We define it as being “sinless” or making no mistakes and having no faults.  So many try to compensate for this by being a perfectionist—i.e., someone who’s striving to do everything right; yet, such is impossible because of our sinful, Adamic nature and the fact that we’re inwardly drawn to sin because of our inherent “lust of the flesh, eyes and pride of life” (I Jn. 2:16).

Thus, the perfectionist is usually legalistic. . .always dotting every “i” and crossing every “t”  . . .and criticizing/condemning those who don’t. . .while forgetting that he/she also can’t do it every time.  But, don’t expect a perfectionist to admit such—for they operate in self-deceit and delusion, somehow thinking they’ve “arrived” and are superior to others.

The Greek word “teleios” is used here for “perfect” and means “complete, mature, of full age, etc.”  Thus, it means “perfection” (maturity) in Christ is our goal and His Grace is the means by which we reach it.  Or, another way to put it is, our Heavenly Father wants us to grow to the point where others will look at us and say as Jacob did to Esau, “When I saw your face, it’s as I saw the Face of God” (Ex. 33:10).

Oh, dear Pilgrim, it’s sinful pride that makes us berate and condemn ourselves when we make a mistake.  And, it’s that same sinful pride that prompts us to act that way toward others.  However, when we realize it’s our “dying to self” (Gal. 2:20) that enables us to come alive to Christ—and moves us closer to “being perfect as He is perfect”—it transports us from the realm of “performance” to that of trust and surrender.

Never forget:  God knows who/what we are from the womb to the tomb.  He knows 100 years from now what we’re going to say and do today.  However, by “walking with Him” daily we allow Him to “guide our steps” (Prov. 3:5-6) so we’ll walk and act the way Jesus would if He were right there with us.  And, in those times when we don’t, His Holy Spirit will prick our conscience to let us know, which should move us to repentance (Jn. 16:8-11; Rom. 2:4b).

The Apostle Paul said “Our rejoicing is this, the testimony of our conscience:  That in simplicity (Grk. ‘haplotes’—‘singleness, sincerity, generosity, etc.’) and Godly sincerity, not in fleshly wisdom, but by the Grace of God” we live our lives (II Cor. 1:12a).  This blessed consciousness is also what John had in mind when he talked about “our hearts condemning us not” (I Jn. 3:21-22).  May we yearn for such a heart—a “perfect heart”—in our walk of faith today.

By Tom Smith Morning Manna Dated October 6, 2009

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