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The Perfect Christian
“Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect” Matthew 5:48.
Jesus spoke these words during the Sermon on the Mount and it is an edict that we Christians should obey. But how can that be achieved when we are all born of sin? The world is full of temptations. While some of our resolves are stronger than others, we have all faltered, stumbled and even fallen. Taking that one verse into consideration, it would seem very few could live up to the standard.
When speaking to the gathered crowd, Jesus was referring to our need to love one another, even our enemies. However, one who hears another quote it might have an entirely different interpretation of that command. That person might attempt perfection in every aspect of their lives at home, work, and church. A burnt dinner would cause major depression; a wayward child would leave one mired in guilt at self-perceived flaws in parenting and love for the church family could lead one astray from the salvation offered by the Lord and into the chains of laws and rules.
When one is first born again, there is an excitement that is exhilarating. An insight is gained and a beautiful relationship is strengthened. There is a desire to join a church family for fellowship and to participate in church activities. Sometimes, participating in church activities is confused being a good and perfect Christian. Good deeds are great, but good deeds alone do not offer salvation. One’s sincere acceptance of Jesus Christ is the only true salvation. Good deeds are a by-product of that acceptance. However, if one’s deeds are done merely to score “brownie points”, one must take assessment of one’s motives. One should ask: Am I doing this out of my love for the Lord? Or, am I doing this to make people happy? Simply, if one participates in an activity for which there is no desire and is replete with internal grumblings, it’s probably being done to please man. God is not impressed with actions that are not from the heart.
We all want the respect of our peers, but acceptance from man should never take precedence to pleasing the Lord. What pleases the Lord is our pure, unfailing love and dependence upon God. “Thou shalt have no other gods before me.”(Ex 20:2) is the first of the Ten Commandments not by chance but by design. By loving Him we will develop a love for each other regardless of race and social position, which allows us to be perfect as our heavenly Father is perfect.
While we should respect our church leaders and consider their counsel and instruction, the ultimate responsibility of establishing your relationship with the Lord falls on you. Take the time to read and study the Bible to prevent being led astray by misguided interpretations and falsehoods. Discover for yourself what God expects and requires of you.