‘Be perfect, therefore, even as You Heavenly Father is perfect…’ (Matthew 5:48)
Switch on your television on almost any evening and somewhere you might find a reality show where members of the public are passionately taking their hobbies and pastimes to a different level by taking part in in these programmes. Baking, cooking, art, pottery, sewing, you name it and there seems to be a reality show out there where individuals all seek to perfect their particular ‘art’ and win the coveted title and prize on offer.
On first reading our short Bible verse today not only seems impossible but also contradictory to our Christian teaching. To be perfect means to be without any kind of fault or defect and we surely all know that we can never be perfect in this way – only our Lord was perfect. Yet here we have this short verse in Matthew’s Gospel.
Maybe then we have to think of this idea of perfection in a different way and not as the world might see or understand it. Maybe it’s not so much about doing extraordinary, flawless things but rather in doing ordinary everyday things extraordinarily well. For that, of course we need to turn to God and perhaps reflect upon another verse, ‘God is my strength and power and He makes my way perfect…’ (2 Sam. 22:33)
Jesus isn’t commanding us to be without flaw or defect, rather He is challenging us to allow God’s Spirit to mould us – our characteristics our abilities and our understanding – that we might fulfil His purpose for us. Irrespective of what weaknesses or flaws we may have, if we truly allow God’s spirit to work within us then we can become perfect, that is as God would have us, suited to His purpose and in that vein we are better suited and more able to serve Him as He has called us to.
Lord, as we come before You today, we acknowledge our flaws and failings and accept that we need You in our lives. We know Lord that in Your strength and by Your Spirit still You might be able to use us to play our part in Your Kingdom. So Lord, help us we pray, to be perfect, suited to Your purpose, to the glory and honour of Your name. Amen.