“Be perfect, just as your Father in heaven is perfect.” Matthew 5:48
Remember the movie, “Mary Poppins?” I remember Poppins describing herself as “practically perfect.” And who can argue? When you can move objects without touching them and fly wherever you want to go and always say the right thing and never get upset…………I’ll admit – my life is a far cry from even that exhibited by Mary Poppins! But the Bible raises the bar even higher. It says be perfect as your Father in heaven is perfect. That takes things several degrees above the “practically perfect Poppins!”
Many of you read this scripture and think, “this is impossible to obtain,” and are confused as to why God would even include such an admonition in His Word. A few days ago I read something that Oswald Chambers wrote regarding this scripture that I’d like to share with you. I hope that this reflection by one of the Kingdom’s most revered men will make this scripture one that you can take home with you and incorporate into your life.
“You have heard that it was said, ‘An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth.’ But I tell you not to resist an evil person. But whoever slaps you on your right cheek, turn the other to him also. If anyone wants to sue you and take away your tunic, let him have your cloak also. And whoever compels you to go one mile, go with him two. Give to him who asks you and from him who wants to borrow from you do not turn away. You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I say to you, love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you, that you may be sons of your Father in heaven; for He makes His sun rise on the evil and the good and sends rain on the just and on the unjust. For if you love those who love you, what reward have you? Do not even the tax collectors do the same? And if you greet your brethren only, what do you do more than others? Do not even the tax collectors do so? Therefore you shall be perfect, just as your Father in heaven is perfect.” Matt. 5:38-48
Our Lord’s exhortation to us in verses 38-48 is to be generous in our behavior toward everyone. Beware of living according to your natural affections in your spiritual life. Everyone has natural affections–some people we like and others we don’t like. Yet we must never let those likes and dislikes rule our Christian life.
“If we walk in the light as He is in the light, we have fellowship with one another” (1 John 1:7), even those toward whom we have no affection.
The example our Lord gave us here is not that of a good person, or even of a good Christian, but of God Himself. “Be perfect, just as your Father in heaven is perfect.” In other words, simply show to the other person what God has shown to you. And God will give you plenty of real life opportunities to prove whether or not you are ‘perfect as He is perfect.’
Being a disciple means deliberately identifying yourself with God’s interests in other people.
Jesus says, ‘A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another; as I have loved you, that you also love one another. By this all will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.’ John 13:34-35
The true expression of Christian character is not in good-doing, but in God-likeness. If the Spirit of God has transformed you within, you will exhibit divine characteristics in your life, not just good human characteristics. God’s life in us expresses itself as God’s life, not as human life trying to be godly. The secret of a Christian’s life is that the supernatural becomes natural in him as a result of the grace of God and the experience of this becomes evident in the practical, everyday details of life, not just in times of intimate fellowship with God. And when we come in contact with things that create confusion and a flurry of activity, we find to our own amazement that we have the power to stay wonderfully poised even in the center of it all.”