What God Calls Perfect

We go to such great lengths to be perfect. We want to appear perfect at work, school, at home, with friends. We think that by perfecting a role, we are therefore perfect. But God doesn't call us perfect by perfecting these roles, His definition of perfect is different.

In scripture I found two verses, depending on your translation, that God calls us to be perfect in: James 1:4 and Matthew 5:48.

James 1 talks about how we handle challenges and trials in life as Christ followers. A person's faith is tested during trying times, a commentary on this chapter says: "The natural tendency of trouble is not to sanctify, but to induce sin. A man is very apt to become unbelieving under affliction: that is a sin. He is apt to murmur against God under it: that is a sin. He is apt to put forth his hand to some ill way of escaping from his difficulty: and that would be sin." (Spurgeon).

But something beautiful can grow out of going through trials with perseverance. When we allow ourselves to go through the process and go through the hurt, that's letting our faith do its job. We get to see our hope come alive. Then, after this process, we come out mature and complete, truly lacking nothing.

It's this that God calls perfect. Genuine faith.

"And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing." James 1:4 ESV

"But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing." James 1:4 NKJV

"Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything." James 1:4 NIV

Matthew 5:48 says, "You therefore must be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect." Sure, be perfect -- no pressure! But that's not what Jesus said. He tells us to be perfect like our Father. When we're more like God, in His character, His love, His grace, His mercy, we are perfect.

A commentary on this verse says, "Much as a child resembles his biological parents, spiritual children bear close resemblance to their heavenly Father. Consequently, Jesus' disciples are commanded to exhibit moral perfection. The close connection between this verse and Jesus' teaching about love (verses 43-47) suggests that unconditional love is the most crucial expression of God's character in the life of His followers."

Be perfect, but in the way God calls you to be perfect. When we're transformed by God's love and reflect who He is, all that we do will come from an overflow of His perfect love.


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