At my age, most people tend to slack off and set few goals. I understand why, but today I’m thinking about that saying: It is better to aim for the stars and hit the woodpile than to aim for the woodpile and hit your foot. God is challenging me to keep setting goals.
Yesterday’s thoughts from the Lord pointed to the goal of perfection, making it clear that this is a process. God commands it, but I cannot reach it without Jesus Christ helping me. The verse yesterday (2 Corinthians 13:11) used katartizō, a Greek word sometimes translated as perfect. In my Bible version, it was translated “restoration.” Instead of asking for instant perfection, God wants me to aim toward restoration. The ideal is His full intention for me. He wants me to be like Jesus.
Today’s verses offer a different word that is also translated “perfect.” In context, it is about the amazing and perfect love of God and how His people are to emulate it.
You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven. For he makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust. For if you love those who love you, what reward do you have? Do not even the tax collectors do the same? And if you greet only your brothers, what more are you doing than others? Do not even the Gentiles do the same? You therefore must be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect. (Matthew 5:43–48)
“Perfect” in this passage is translated from a different word that means to set out for a definite point or goal. It can also refer to the conclusion or results of that action. The idea is that I become complete and fully mature. In other words, “grow up” in my faith so that I am as God is in my actions.
If people retire without goals, they tend to fade quickly because life loses its meaning. Without a sense of purpose, the desire to live decreases. As a Christian, I have good reason to keep on aiming for this “be perfect” goal that God commands. Not only does it give purpose to life, if I set anything else for a goal, I might reach it. However, this one will be reached only when I step into eternity because I will never run out of things to change or improve!
My spiritual gift and ministry has been teaching. This idea of pressing on to maturity and perfection increases my understanding of the psalmist’s words. They are also a goal…
So even to old age and gray hairs, O God, do not forsake me, until I proclaim your might to another generation, your power to all those to come. (Psalm 71:18)
Father God, the idea of being like You is an incredible thought. It seems unreachable. Yet You command that I “be perfect” and give many examples of what that perfection looks like. I need to grow up in my love for others, and in all other aspects of Christian living. No matter what limitations may dictate, physical or otherwise, I trust You to keep this impossible yet possible goal before me for the rest of my life.