Perfection ~ Observation #2

Passages: Hebrews 2:10; Matthew 5:48; Romans 5:1-5; James 1:4; 1st John 4:16-21

I'm bothered by pretentious and 'cute' ideologies that end up being lies (remember when Disney would tell people to believe in love at first sight?). Maybe this argument is out of context once re-examined with the proper definitions, but specifically, there is a saying that goes, "Nobody's perfect". This bothers me because technically it's a lie and also it's usually used in a context to excuse behavior or as a reason not to try harder.

Although Jesus was always sinless, Jesus wasn't always perfect. Take a look at Hebrews 2:10, tell me what you see, (or keep reading). The context of perfection used is not the same one. We use it in or commonly think of- therefore, the definition of perfect must be re-examined. The following verses help us give perfection, context and definition: Matthew 5:48 and James 1:4. Read at your discretion.

Starting with Matthew, Jesus just finished talking about how we relate with people we don't like or have a grudge against or people we hate (our enemies). He talks about how we are to show mercy or kindness to those who do us wrong and have that as our goal, the definition he gives for the capacity to be perfect. In other words, someone who is perfect and love their enemy and pray for those who persecute them. Someone who loves all without expecting love back and greets all without knowing them.

Lastly, the reason this is important, and the reason we're even talking about this in the first place is because just as Jesus said, " You therefore must be perfect as your Heavenly Father is perfect." He is setting a standard. I believe James is also talking about the same definition in a different context.

1st John 4:16-21 would support this analysis; depending on the version. Most use the word 'perfect', but some interchange it for 'complete'. The definition we offered could also be described as someone who has been completed in love because if you are someone who abides in God (trust God) while the storm rages or while people do you wrong then blessing them even if they offend you isn't a problem. 

Let's let Romans 5:1-5 help us see this: "...suffering produces endurance, endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame because God love has been poured into our hearts through Holy Spirit".

The reason I said that John and Matthew are talking about the same thing, and the reason Romans 5 ties in is something that James, Jesus brother knew all too well. James writes about the steadfastness having its full effects so that we become complete or perfect, and the only way to have the capacity to do that is to be the one who abides in him because as John said that's how his love is perfected in us. Being able to make God our joy in the midst of trial is not easy, that's why James' first sentence is about a shift in perspective.

We tend to think of joy as a smile or some positive feeling, but trusting God is a synonym for having joy. In fact, I find it hard to believe a Christian who isn't seeking joy in God has the ability to trust God. Please don't confuse Joy with happiness here, otherwise what you understand when I say joy could play with value on the wrong thing like feelings. Joy is the reason I seasoned heart can say no to present temptations over future priorities or the convictions one holds. 

I find it encouraging that Jesus although he was sinless, was shown to be perfected. We are invited into this process by no other than the person who got to see Jesus struggle the most, his brother James. If anyone thought Jesus was crazy growing up, it had to be his brother.

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