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The Pursuit Of Perfection

Posted by Job on March 1, 2007

II Corinthians 13:11 – Finally, brethren, farewell. Be perfect, be of good comfort, be of one mind, live in peace; and the God of love and peace shall be with you.

We have been told that mankind cannot be perfect. That we are corrupt, flawed, limited, born in sin, and despite our best efforts we will inevitably fall. Therefore, we are advised that the pursuit of perfection, something that we cannot hope to obtain, is folly, a waste of time, and even a flaw of character and spirit. We are told to accept our flaws, work around them, excel in spite of them, EMBRACE THEM. Even Christians are prone to say “There is none righteous save the Father.” That even the born again are imperfect, will sin, and have to repent!

Yet we are told many places in God’s word to be perfect! Indeed, we are told that we have to be perfect to inherit the Kingdom of God, to enter Heaven! That is dealt with by saying that before we enter Heaven, we will be changed into perfect incorruptible beings. True. If we complete the race, our reward will be our spirits being wiped clean and entering Heaven where they will forever be uncorrupted and incorruptible! But many places in the Bible it instructs us to be perfect and incorruptible to receive and do all that God wants to on Earth! It is also implied that we must first be perfect before we even get our incorruptible bodies to get into Heaven! So if none are righteous but the Father and nothing is perfect until it enters Heaven in the presence of the Father and his approval, how will we attain this to receive all power and blessings on Earth and be allowed to enter Heaven? Is this a contradiction, or merely impossible?

Even were it impossible, it would be OK, because Jesus did say that where with man things are impossible with God all things are possible. But there is yet another source of relief from what would be a distressing conundrum paradox to all who lack the requisite combination of knowledge and faith. That is found in I Peter 1:22 – 23. This, indeed, is a confirmation of what Jesus said earlier where with God the impossible is possible for those who seek and love God and believe. You are imperfect, subject to divers temptations and weaknesses to which you may (I will not say necessarily WILL because Jesus did not) ultimately succumb and sin, because you still have a BODY. It is IMPOSSIBLE to make THIS BODY in THIS WORLD perfect, and the pursuit of doing so is folly. That applies to the various explorers during the Middle Ages who died seeking the fountain of youth/eternal life. (For some reason Hernando de Soto thought that it was somewhere in Florida.) The death of the natural body is the result of its imperfection, the imperfection that was born into all humans as a result of Adam’s fall.

But alas, Peter 1:22 – 24 speaks of the HEART, which is the mind and will, commonly referred to as the soul. Where it is impossible to have a perfect body, it is not only possible but REQUIRED to have a perfect heart. A perfect heart is one that is born again, as Peter 1:23 says. It is one that is purified through obedience to the Holy Spirit, as Peter 1:22 says. It is a complete love for God, a love greater than one has for anyone or anything else including oneself. (If you love anything more than you love God, it is actually a manifestation of loving YOURSELF more than you love God because the reason why you put anything, no matter how pure or noble, above God is your selfishness or fear.) It is a true desire, borne out of that love, to obey God only and completely no matter what. It is a state where you trust God completely, where you put all that you have, not only your life but your eternity, in his hands, and you know that he will take good care of it. It is a sincere belief that God cannot be wrong or unfair and should not ever be doubted or contended with. It is keeping your mind on God constantly through seeking and prayer, and every single thing that you see, do, and are is viewed by you under the prism of how God sees it and its capacity to please him. If it pleases him, you want something of it no matter what it is. You want that thing, whatever it is if it pleases him, to continue, to be built up, so that it will please him longer and more. If it displeases him, you want nothing of it and desire it to be overcome, destroyed, removed from God’s sight. Furthermore, the only thing that will keep you from doing either is God himself!

Unconvinced and desire examples (other than of course Jesus Christ) to demonstrate to you that it is possible? God had to tell David not to build God a house. David committed great sins of conspiracy, adultery, and murder in the matter with Bathsheba and Uriah, but he still had a perfect heart, and God established his kingdom forever through Jesus Christ being born out of his line. God had to send an angel to stop Abraham from sacrificing Isaac. Abraham had sinned by telling people that his wife was his sister and giving her to them to have sex with because he feared his own wife. But Abraham still had a perfect heart, and God created out of him the nation of Israel and made him the Father of all who are called by and call upon the name of the One True God. And Moses became so angry at looking upon that which displeased God when he saw the idolatry of the children of Israel in the matter of the golden calf that he broke the Law of God that he had spent 40 days and nights receiving, and had to go back and spend 40 more days and nights. Moses sinned by committing murder, by questioning and contending with God when he appeared to him as a burning bush, and when he smote the rock in the desert, the last of which prevented him from entering the Promised Land on Earth. But Moses still had a perfect heart, and God used him to lead Israel out of Egypt to the Promised Land, and honored his many intercessions and entreaties for God not to destroy Israel in the desert because of their many sins. God also used him to prophesy about the coming Savior! If David, Moses, and Abraham were able to be perfect by virtue of their hearts despite the failings of the flesh under the Old Covenant, how much more should we be able to be perfect under the New Covenant? Not only do we have Jesus Christ as an example, but we also have the Holy Spirit as a guide, a keeper. We can be born again of The Word through the Holy Spirit, and when that happens we can seek perfection through our hearts, and all the benefits thereof, including all power and blessings that God has in store on Earth and entrance into Heaven!

Now this will not necessarily be quick or easy. It may not happen immediately after salvation or baptism in the Holy Spirit with evidence. It may take quite a while – even all your life – of prayer, supplication, and obedience. You will have to overcome the flesh, with all the agendas, egos, defense mechanisms, compensations, excuses, and weaknesses. You will need deliverance from evil spirits if they are in and about you. You will need to forgive all who have hurt you. You will need to let go of fear and doubt and completely trust God. You will need to submit yourself to his rule entirely and be accepting, indeed joyful even though you do not know what tomorrow will bring, what God will ask you to do, or what will be the apparent earthly result. And even after you get there, your perfect heart has to be maintained despite all the attacks that the enemy will unleash to soil your garments. His desire may not even be to make you totally fall, but make you fall just enough to where you will lose a great deal of your power on Earth and no longer be eligible for Heaven BUT STILL THINK THAT YOU ARE OK BECAUSE YOU ARE WALKING IN AGREEMENT WITH SIN, EXCUSES, DEFEAT, AND COMPROMISE. And yes, while God will put a hedge of protection around you, certain attacks Satan he will allow to strengthen you, and you will just have to endure spotless until the end nonetheless, for God only wants those who truly love him enough to fight and hold on. Only those will get into his Heaven. Seems impossible? It is. But it can be done. It must be done! But through God in the name of his Son Jesus Christ is the only way.

You can be encouraged on your impossible lifelong quest by two things. 1. God wants you to go to Heaven! Therefore, God will not allow you to go through more than what you can endure, and God already knows your limits! The only question is whether you will WANT to endure it or if you love yourself too much to give it up for your God. Those who love their old, sinful life on Earth in the least will not get a new incorruptible life in Heaven! 2. Jesus is our example. Yet he had to wait until it was time, until he was 30 years old, before he was baptized by his cousin John and the Holy Spirit came down upon him. Then he had to go into the desert and fast and be tempted of Satan 40 days and nights to be tried. And even after he began his ministry, he fasted and prayed on a continual basis, even to the crossroads climax at Gethsemane when he had to pray through his temptation so that he would submit to the will of God and be crucified! It makes no difference whether you believe that Jesus Christ was born perfect because he was (and is) the only begotten Son of God born of a Human but conceived by the Holy Spirit and therefore not under Adam’s curse. What matters is that Jesus Christ still had a perfection process to go through just like everyone else!

So, you will be tempted. Evil spirits and many people will tell you that this perfection that you are seeking is impossible. They are going to try to get you to settle, to pick just one of the many sins there are out there and walk in agreement with them. But you have to call upon your God, let him fight that battle for you, and win it on your behalf. You have to go into spiritual warfare, call upon the name of Jesus Christ, and command it to move. You have to be completely obedient, follow the Holy Spirit, and stand upon The Word. You are going to have to make sacrifices. You might have to give up most of the movies and TV shows that you used to watch and cancel your subscriptions to some of those magazines. You might have to give up the music that you listened to. You might have to stop hanging around friends, even family members. You might have to change wardrobes, jobs, churches, neighborhoods. You might sleep a few less hours a night. You and your spouse might have to come together less often, or more often. You may have to stay single if you wanted to get married, or get married if you wanted to stay single. You might have to stop eating until you are happy and start eating until you are full. You might have to stop acting good and looking good in order to start being good. Your old life based on human expectations and limitations and sensual pleasures will have to die, and a new life based totally upon what God wants and tells you and allows you to experience will be born. Then you have to get to the point where you don’t miss the old life at all. But the final step comes when God says “You are just they way I want you. Love me, obey me, stay that way, and Heaven will be yours.”
You can do it. Believe it. Seek it. Achieve it. And do not let anyone or anything in this world or not stop you. You must. Where you spend eternity depends upon it. Do not do it for me. Do not do it for your family or your church. Do not even do it for you. Do it for your God!

In the name of Jesus Christ, Father God if I am not perfect, please make me so. Amen!


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