Be Perfect as Your Heavenly Father Is Perfect
by Ron Scurfield
‘Must do better’; I wonder if these words have a familiar ring? They may have come from a school report, perhaps going back many years, or a critical comment from a company boss? Or have we spoken them over ourselves as a self-criticism that we’re not as good as we would like to be and struggle to achieve the required standard? Do we need to try harder?
Do we fall far short of what God expects of us? It’s of no comfort to read in Romans 3:23 that ‘all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.’ And when we read the words of Jesus in Mark 3:23, `Be perfect therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect’ our hopes seem to evaporate like mist on a summer morning. What chance do we have? We’ve tried so often but always seem to fall back into our old ways. Why can’t we live up to His expectations?
In 1 Peter 1:16, we have the ultimate challenge, ‘Be Holy, because I am holy.’ How can we possibly attain holiness? Yet these are the words of God and must be recognised as His will for our lives.
I believe it’s all about the love of God and what we do with it. We know that God is love, but we need to live in it. If we’re living in the love of someone who loves us dearly, we don’t have to earn their love, we just appreciate it and respond accordingly. It’s the same with God.
‘Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in them’ (1 John 4:16). Do we live in the love of God? Are we aware that His love lives in us by the Holy Spirit? How then should we respond? Probably with humility and gratitude, because we don’t deserve it. It’s not a matter of trying to live up to His love, but to receive it humbly. And our lifestyle will begin to change.
The apostle Paul prays in Ephesians 3:18 that we, ‘being rooted and established in love, may have power ... to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ’. We don’t have to strive for it. It’s all around us. We just need to grasp it; ‘that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.’ Take hold of that which is offered. No strings. No conditions.
There’s more. In 2 Corinthians 5:21 we read, ‘God made Him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in Him we might become the righteousness of God’. No longer do we need to try harder. We’re already there, in Christ. Let that truth sink into our spirit. That which we’re powerless to do in the flesh, God did.
As for holiness, God has provided for this too, ‘I am the Lord, who makes you holy’ (Leviticus 20:8). It’s done. Let’s receive it and live in it.
Prayer: Thank You for Your love and mercy which takes my life as it is and moulds it into something beautiful. I don’t see how or why You did this for me, but I need to draw closer to You, as You draw nearer to me. Help me to look less and less at my failings and more and more to Your grace. In Jesus’ name. Amen.
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