Perfection. Today this passage was brought up during church:
Matthew 5:48 "Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect."
Such a passage can certainly make someone feel overwhelmed. Besides, don't we always hear, "nobody's perfect"? What is perfection anyway?
According to Dictionary.com...
1. the state or quality of being or becoming perfect.
2.the highest degree of proficiency, skill, or excellence, as in some art.
3.a perfect embodiment or example of something.
4.a quality, trait, or feature of the highest degree of excellence.
5.the highest or most nearly perfect degree of a quality or trait.
6.the act or fact of perfecting.
I also like this particular passage of scripture with regards to perfection:
1 Kings 8:61 "Let your heart therefore be perfect with the Lord our God, to walk in his statutes, and to keep his commandments, as at this day."
So, it got me thinking. If "No one is perfect", but yet God has commanded us to "be ye therefore perfect" there must be something we can do, right?
First off -- I want to address the scripture I referenced above in 1 Kings. It talks about perfecting our hearts with God. God wants what is best for us. And when we do His will, our hearts are perfected in His. To me, it means wanting the same thing for myself that He does, or becoming the person He already knows me to be; or striving to become that person. That is what having a perfect heart with the Lord means to me.
Secondly -- this whole "Be ye therefore perfect" business. That is a lot to consider. Especially the "even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect." The sentiment today was that even though we might never achieve that level of "perfection" in this life, we shouldn't give up. It is something we must continually strive for.
But also, we are not commanded to "be ye therefore perfect all at once". I mean, I didn't read that... did you? Nope. Didn't think so. Isn't that why we're here anyway? To learn and to grow?
I think back to the definition of "perfection". "the highest degree of proficiency, skill, or excellence"..."a perfect embodiment or example of something"... "a quality, trait, or feature of the highest degree of excellence"...etc.
The thought came to me that there are so many commandments, and some I am already perfect in. Romans 13:9 "...Thou Shalt Not Kill..." I have not killed. Currently speaking, I have perfected this commandment. Luke 21:36 "...Pray Always..." As much praying as I do, I admit - there are times I have rushed out the door forgetting to say my prayers, or fallen asleep before my knees hit the floor. This is something that I am still working to perfect. And there are so many more commandments that I could list.
I guess the point is, just like some people are perfect in a certain skill or talent, like sewing or playing the violin, so are our areas of perfection varied. We can (and possibly should) focus on one area we are really struggling with and strive to become perfect in that and then move on to the next. Don't eat the elephant all in one bite, right? After all, Ecclesiastes 3:1 "To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven"
So, now, I must learn what "season" I am in, and that now is the "time" to learn what and to strive for perfection in what? I can study it out in my heart and I can pray to know the answer if it is unclear. For some of us, it could be our season to teach, to be missionaries. For others of us, it could be our season to learn and to grow. For some of us, it is our season to give, and for others our season to receive. It may be the season for some of us to be reading our scriptures daily, while for others, simply opening them up for the first time is a start. Praying always -- keeping a prayer in our hearts throughout the day, every day might be our season; and for someone else, it may be the season in which they are just learning to pray.
As I strive to implement His teachings into my life daily, I know that I will grow and that I can become more Christlike. Turning my heart towards my Father in Heaven will more easily pave the way to perfect my heart in his. This is the only way I will ever be able to even scratch the proverbial surface of perfection.