Megan Evans, Women’s Ministry Director, LHBC
Matthew 5:46-48 English Standard Version (ESV)
46 For if you love those who love you, what reward do you have? Do not even the tax collectors do the same? 47 And if you greet only your brothers, what more are you doing than others? Do not even the Gentiles do the same? 48 You therefore must be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect.
Are you perfect? Me neither. But we can’t let the conversation stop there. Letting go of perfection has become a popular topic in today’s world. With so much emphasis on approval and likes, not to mention the flood of media images of perfection and achievement, we can quickly feel like we will never measure up. This points to our greatest problem: Does God even ask us to measure?
Perfection is one of those tricky words in the Bible. That word conjures up scratchy places in our heart reminding us of our failures and shortcomings. It is not hard to find secular and even Christian authors, speakers, and influencers that implore us to just let go of perfect and just be yourself. And, while letting go of unrealistic expectations is healthy, we still miss the mark if we only turn inward.
Endless algorithms and polls are built to extract popular opinion, and these condition us to keep our measuring sticks handy. “How do I measure up to this,” or “how did my experience measure up to that?” Our world rates everything from hotels to selfies–who knew pixelated gold stars, hearts, and thumbs could hold so much power? While opinions can be helpful in making choices, we still miss the mark if we only turn outward.
Today if you find yourself stuck measuring, it’s time to look up. In this fallen world, Jesus tells us to turn upward. Matthew 5:48 records the words of Jesus, “You therefore must be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect.” The word “perfect” used here comes from the Greek word “teleios” and means to mature and finish. Jesus beckons us not to follow the world’s way of doing things, but His. The Message Bible says it like this, “In a word, what I’m saying is, Grow up. You’re kingdom subjects. Now live like it. Live out your God-created identity. Live generously and graciously toward others, the way God lives toward you” (Matthew 5:48, MSG).
When we become a Child of God our identity is found in Christ alone. Our life is not one big comparison rating. Instead, our life is unique and set apart from the world. Our life in Christ is a process of completion through sanctification. Anything else in this world that we try to copy will leave us lacking, but when we imitate Christ we will grow in our completeness. When we find ourselves in comparison traps or struggling to love others, it may be our heart telling us it’s time for a growth spurt. Look upward!
PRAYER FOR TODAY:
Father God, thank you for loving me. Forgive me for the times I have looked to the world instead of You for ways to measure up. Continue to grow me, mature and sanctify me more each day. Let my life bring You glory and reflect Your great work in my life! In Jesus Name, Amen.
MEMORY VERSE OF THE WEEK:
We have this as a sure and steadfast anchor of the soul, a hope that enters into the inner place behind the curtain.