Every Christian is called to be perfect like Jesus was perfect. We should all be demonstrating the traits of a perfect Christian every day of our lives. We should be so biblically rooted that everyone around us wants to follow Jesus simply as a result of knowing us.
That’s a pretty heavy order, and to be honest, it’s simply not true. God never told us to walk in perfection and to be perfect. Yes, Jesus was perfect, and yes we are expected to emulate him, but we are humans and we will never be perfect like Jesus. God knows this very well and he doesn’t expect us to attain the unattainable. That’s why he gives us this wonderful thing called grace.
“God saved you by his grace when you believed. And you can’t take credit for this; it is a gift from God. Salvation is not a reward for the good things we have done, so none of us can boast about it” (Ephesians 2:8-9).
Salvation and our relationship with God is a gift that he bestowed upon us out of his loving kindness. Yet so often, once we receive this wonderful free gift, we go back to trying to earn it with our actions. We are so used to a world where we have to work so hard to get anything, that we forget that God gave us this gift freely, with no expectation (and no possibility) of us earning it with any of our own works.
To clarify, I am not saying that there are not certain things we should aspire to do in order to help us grow spiritually in our lives. I believe it is very important to have a habit of doing things like praying regularly, reading our Bibles, attending a local church, serving people, giving and tithing, and worshipping God. All these acts are an important part of every Christian’s walk, but our goal in doing them shouldn’t be to be the perfect Christian, but to grow closer to God and strengthen our relationship with him. He doesn’t want us to be perfect, he just wants our hearts and our focus! Let’s face it, we can do all the perfect things for God and still not have a heart for him, and that is definitely not what he wants. Jesus called the Pharisees out on this exact thing when he said “These people honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me” (Matthew 15:8). Actions without heart are worth nothing.
Trying to be good enough and earn God’s favor is nothing new. People have been trying to do it for centuries. That’s why the religious leaders of Jesus’ day asked him what the most important commandment was. His reply was not a specific command or task, but rather a condition of the heart:
“Jesus replied, ‘You must love the LORD your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your mind’” (Matthew 22:37).
Jesus was telling them that if they focus on the condition of their hearts, the right actions will follow, and he’s telling us that same thing today.
We are made in God’s likeness and image, but we are also human and we have a sin nature. That means we will never be perfect while we are still on this earth in our human bodies. One of the best things we can do while on this earth is actually to embrace our imperfections and our weaknesses and allow God to shine through them and help us grow. Paul learned this lesson when he desperately asked God to take away something that was holding him back and keeping him weak, and God denied his request.
“But he said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.’ Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ's power may rest on me” (2 Corinthians 12:9).
We all have things in our lives that we struggle with that make us far from perfect, but those things can actually be opportunities for Christ to show through us if we allow him to. If we all had the ability to be perfect on our own, then we wouldn’t need God in our lives. The beauty of our relationship with God on this earth is that we get to lean on him and receive strength, wisdom, grace, help, comfort, and everything else we need from him. So instead of trying to be perfect in our own strength, let’s let Christ’s perfection shine through our imperfections and allow him to permeate every bit of our imperfect nature. It’s so much easier than trying to be perfect anyway.
Cortni Marrazzo currently resides in Spokane, Washington with her husband Jason and their two sons. She has a Degree in Biblical Discipleship and has a passion for ministry and encouraging the body of Christ. She and her husband currently serve as small group directors at their local church. You can contact her at Cortni.Marrazzo@gmail.com or on Facebook.
Publication date: March 6, 2015