Its interesting actually that the comments to the previous post follow the same train of thought I have been on. I want to start this post with the passage of scripture that first inspired it:
"Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect." Matthew 5:48
For my Christian Theology A level I had a piece of coursework based on this passage which asked whether Jesus' ethic of perfection fails the test of practical application. I need to try to dig this essay back out again to find out what I thought back then. Now, having a bit more of an understanding of myself and who I am, I have been really trying to work out how there can be any common ground between passages such as this, and the advice that people often give me reminding me that aiming for perfection will always lead to disappointment.
I remember that one of my conclusions was that perfection will never be reached while we remain on earth, but that should not stop us from keeping that aim as a backdrop to all we do in life. However, I now know that the desire for perfection can seriously be damaging to your self esteem and so it seems that passages such as the above should be considered carefully before staking your life on it.
Both of the comments made I have considered too. Could this mean 'be the best you can be' rather than 'be perfect'. The problem I have with that is that it is not what the scripture says, and also, who is to say what 'the best I can be' is? How can I or anyone else say whether I have reached that goal or not? I do agree that we need to define what Jesus might mean by perfection. I tend to think that perfection means being the best at everything, and always doing the right thing. But if to fulfil the above scripture I have to be good at art, or dancing, or directions, then I might as well give up now!
I like the idea of comparing today's (or at least my own) idea of perfection with holiness. Surely that is what Jesus is talking about; living totally surrendered to God's will and being pure and righteous, not being good at art! I read up on it a little bit and found the following quote:
"God’s perfection means that God completely possesses all excellent qualities and lacks no part of any qualities that would be desirable for him." Wayne Grudem
This brings us right back to Dawns comment about us being as perfect as we are meant to be. I guess that my concern about how to define what perfection means for me can be answered simply by 'look at Jesus'. Surely the answer to the whole question of what perfection means is 'look at Jesus'.
So, does this fail the test of practical application? Actually yes, it does. But more about that in the next post! I know! You can't wait right?!?!?!