When I was 6 years old Julie Andrews and Dick Van Dyke hit the big screen with Marry Poppins. We had the album, and I grew up listening to the music. Probably every time it came on television, back in the days of 7 channels (hey we were lucky, we lived near NYC – much of the world had one or two if they were lucky) we were watching on our old black and white TV. When I was parenting my own kids we got the video and played it over and over again. This story is part of me.
So when I hear Jesus say
Therefore you are to be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect. (Matt 5:48 NASB)
I think of Mary Poppins pulling out here tape measure and measuring the kids. Then she reached down to her foot and stretched it up to the top of her head and looked at her exact measure. It read: “Marry Poppins, Practically Perfect in Every Way.”
Mary Poppins aside, what are the implications of these red letter for us today.
The word perfect is the Greek word “Telios” which means to be complete, mature, lacking nothing in your training or preparation for life.
What Jesus is saying is that Christian maturity is measured, not in how much of the Bible you have memorized, on in how perfectly you fulfill all the rituals that your church makes you walk through – it is not how often you come to church, or how many ways you volunteer, how many committees you serve on, or whether you teach Sunday School or work in the nursery. It is measured in how much you look like your Father.
The mature Christian looks just like Jesus. And Jesus promises that this will result in the same kind of abuse that He suffered. In John 16 He tells us that people will think they are doing God a favor when they kill us.
Can a Christian be perfect?
Every Christian is in a walk toward maturity, but every Christian can be perfect. How so? As we walk in what God is showing us today, we are walking in the light. This is all that God requests of us. We are never to look at other Christians and compare ourselves to them, NEVER!
The Father knows where we are, and what we need. He will never expect more from us, than we are ready to give Him. Especially since the only things of value we can give Him are things He has given us to offer.
This is not true of Satan. Satan is the one who compares us to each other, and makes us feel inadequate, or superior. That’s right – superior. There is nothing but evil in comparing ourselves with others. No good can come from it. Jesus tells the parable of the 2 men who pray, and it is the religious man who says, “I thank God I am not like other men” and goes home the same way he came out – completely untouched by the hand of God.
We started this chapter (and this blog) with the poor in spirit, and this is the essence of it – I do not think of myself as better than those around me, or useless because of my youth or inexperience. God has each of us in a place and will bring us to “perfection” via a walk of perfection. We can be perfect as we become perfect!
Perfection is walking today in what God has put in your path. Jesus only did what He saw the Father did, and that was perfect.
Perfection is not the inability to sin, but the ability to obey God in the moment. [Tweet This]
I hope this helps.
Walk with Jesus today.