On Being Perfect
This thing about being perfect is a queer idea. Children live out their lives attempting to please a parent who expects perfection. This instills feelings of never being good enough. A person's soul is injured by the unrealistic expectations of people they value. Self esteem has been wounded and often a lifetime of trying to measure up leads to self hatred because perfection is not acheived. There have been movements in the religious world that have stressed the necessity of its adherents being able to reach perfection by taking and following vows of poverty, chastity, and obedience. The Catholic Church teaches that, although all are to strive for perfection, there is a more exacting obligation for the "religious life." By the term "religious life" it is meant to designate those who join a religious order or work within the Church.
But nowhere in God's Word is there a lower standard and a higher standard for Christians. This unchristian teaching implies that there are degrees of holiness, of perfection within the church. This idea gives way to honoring churchmen as being on a different spiritual plane than mere members. This is altogether wrong. This is yet another way of not honoring or glorifying God, but a way to glorify men. It is true that some Christians seem closer to God than others, but this is not perfection. There is no Biblical teaching of "saints" being anything more than church members. Every Christian is a saint, or "holy one" set aside as a child of God.
The only way on this earth to be perfect is by faith in Christ Jesus. (Ephesians 2:8,9) No matter how perfect someone may appear to us, they are, through and through, a sinner in need of a Savior. We may admire people, but let us not forget that they are sinful in much of their character. The good things we do in this life are a direct result of God working through our sinful hearts. We will never attain perfection on planet Earth until Christ splits the heavens open and releases us from our sinful natures. We must fight our sinful selves until we are sealed among God's people.
This is one of the many reasons Christians look forward to the Second Coming of Christ. We will no longer be tempted from within ourselves. Our sinful nature will be destroyed at His Coming! We will be free of our selfish, cruel natures. The battle with ourselves will at last be over. We will finally be able to obey God without the temptation to rebel. Free will remains intact and we can choose to make our own decisions. However, having seen what rebellion against God has cost us all, we will always make right decisions. "Affliction will not rise the second time" (Nahum 1:9)
So, while I lean on God and learn day by passing day His will for me, I realize my actual perfection comes when I believe in Jesus. I accept His perfection as my own and walk through life knowing that the only perfection I will ever have in this world comes as a gift from God. Think about it. If it were possible to become perfect with God's help in this life, there would come a time when we would no longer need Christ. This shows a terrible ignorance of the true human condition. We do not just do sin, we "are" sin. "There is none righteous, no, not one:" (Romans 3:10)
Unlike it is with some earthly parents, the good news is that we do not have to become perfect to please our Heavenly Dad. When we accept the righteousness of Christ, we are accepted as though Jesus' perfection were our own. When God looks at us, He sees us as perfect. We are His children... His perfect children. This gives us the freedom to serve Him in peace knowing that we are accepted by Him because we have accepted Christ.
In this life we are always going to have tribulations caused by others and originating from within ourselves in this world. But remember Jesus said, "Be of good cheer, I have overcome the world." You too can overcome the world by faith. You are perfect already. This perfection allows us to see ourselves in a new light. The burden of guilt falls off our shoulders when we look into the swollen, bloody face of the man on the Cross. Here, take His perfection and accept yourself as one who is loved by God. The perfection we have here by faith will become a reality when Christ gives us our new sinless bodies at His Second Coming. Praise the Lord, God has found a way for us to live at peace with our sinful selves. Now we may serve Him, not to gain perfection or acceptance, but because we have already been declared perfect and accepted! (Ephesians 1:6) "To the praise of the glory of his grace, wherein he hath made us accepted in the beloved."