Are you a perfectionist? If yes, how does that help or hurt you? Do you need to talk to someone about this?
Do you know when something is moved in your room? Do you get frustrated when wrapping up a class assignment and have a hard time turning in your work, thinking it could be a little better? Do you get ruffled when someone messes with your computer (i.e., even touches your screen)?
If you answered “yes,” you may be a perfectionist. Not very serious symptoms, right? Now try these: Do you set unusually high standards for yourself? Do you believe that anything less than perfection is failure? Do you find hope in a moment of failure? Do you avoid talking honestly to your parents because you fear what they think of you? Do you avoid God because you think He expects you to be perfect? After all, didn’t Jesus say in Matthew 5:48, “Be perfect.”
Jesus actually did say that. But He also said, “It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners” (Mark 2:17). Jesus did not expect people to clean themselves up before they came to Him. He touched people whom society considered unclean and imperfect (Matthew 8:3, 20:30-34 and Mark 7:32-35). They recognized their own weaknesses, struggles, frailties, and sins, and knew that only Jesus was the One who could help.
If you are a Christian, you probably know that trusting Jesus as Savior does not make you instantly perfect. The apostle Paul wrote, “What I do is not the good I want to do; no, the evil I do I do not want to do…but this I keep on doing” (Romans 7:19). He also wrote to the Christians at Philippi, “Not that I have already been made perfect…but I press on” (3:12).
Read Philippians 3:12-21.
Think about the man who wrote much of the New Testament. He was a champion of the early Christian faith. He was a role model of robust faith, intellectual depth, spiritual gifts and Holy Spirit power, a man who would rather die than turn his back on Jesus. He knew that as long as his feet touched the earth, he would never be perfect. But he did not sit back and practice a cheap sort of grace, just waiting for the return of his Lord. He kept trying to pursue Christ-likeness, by saying things like, “…forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on to the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward” (v 13-14).
Paul argues that followers of Christ are heaven bound first and foremost, based on new values and direction. We are born from above, our names are written in heaven’s Book, our lives are guided by heavenly standards, and our inheritance and standing is reserved in heaven. While our citizenship is in heaven, we also have a responsibility to live like Christ on earth. Paul lived to “forget what is behind” (i.e. the corrupt world and his old life of sin) and “run his race well” that would ultimately result in his final salvation in Christ. He lived to be like Christ.
Christians are in a process of becoming more like Christ. It is nothing you can do on your own. Memorize Philippians 1:6 for the times when you feel you don’t measure up. The author of Hebrews wrote, “Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith” (12:2). Think theologically. Read the 4 Gospels and do what Jesus says in red and models in black. Nobody’s perfect – yet. Trust Jesus to make you more like Him. Keep your eyes on Him.
Love is a verb,
©2013 by Mike Olejarz