Be Perfect

August 7, 2015

Be Perfect

Matthew 5:43-48
“You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ 44But I tell you: Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, 45that you may be sons of your Father in heaven. He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. 46If you love those who love you, what reward will you get? Are not even the tax collectors doing that? 47And if you greet only your brothers, what are you doing more than others? Do not even pagans do that? 48Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect.”

When we read the passage in verse 48 where Jesus tells us, “Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect,” what does that mean to you? Are you thinking that is impossible or yeah, maybe when I get to heaven? Why would he tell us this now when we perceive ourselves in such an imperfect state? How could we ever aspire to be perfect, as he is perfect? We are not only to aspire to it, it is our calling. Why would Jesus call us to do what was impossible to do?
Jesus throughout Matthew 5 is calling His disciples and following to a higher order of love than that of the world. He is calling us out of natural reasoning and fairness. He is calling us to a level of love that we have come to know as Agape’ love. It is a love that is not governed by what others do to me, it doesn’t respond to circumstances. It is an action and not a reaction.
The word “perfect” used in verse 48 is the Greek word “telios”. It means brought to its end, consummate human integrity and virtue, full grown, adult, of full age, mature. The purpose of God is to bring us unto perfection, to bring us into His unconditional love and divine nature. This is the reason He gives the five fold ministry in Ephesians 4:11-13, “It was he who gave some to be apostles, some to be prophets, some to be evangelists, and some to be pastors and teachers, 12to prepare God’s people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up 13until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ.” The word mature here is that same word for perfect. It is going to take our faith to grasp this concept, because all that we see in us and in the body of Christ around us pretty much testifies against this. What we have to see here is that there is a standard that has been set before us, but what is impossible with men, is not impossible with God. God is the one that has called us to this standard and He alone can be the ability to attain it. It is obvious to us that it is not in our natural ability, so that is our first clue that we need to be walking and living in something that is beyond the natural. We are called up to walk in the supernatural. We are called to walk after the Spirit and not after the flesh. It is only in the realm of the Spirit that we can even comprehend the perfection that Christ has called us too.
Listen as 2 Peter 2:2-4 reiterates our calling and where the power comes from, “Grace and peace be multiplied to you in the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord, 3 as His divine power has given to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of Him who called us by glory and virtue, 4 by which have been given to us exceedingly great and precious promises, that through these you may be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust.” We see here that perfection and maturity in Christ is a calling of faith, because it is in laying hold of the promises of God’s Word that we move into this realm. There is no perfection without His power and life working in us, changing us and transforming us. The ability is not in us to change ourselves to perfection, but to position ourselves in Him, by faith and through a broken and contrite heart to yield to the working and moving He is doing in us. What we perceive as trials, hardships and adversities may truly be opportunities to exercise and mature in His divine nature.
Abraham became the friend of God because he had enough faith and vision to move out of the realm of the seen into the realm of the unseen. He counted God faithful to do that which He had promised. Are we counting Him faithful to perfect our lives in love and in all that pertains to godliness? Are we willing to quit looking at our circumstances and our inability’s long enough to see His ability and His promises to us? Are we like-minded with the apostle Paul to press into the high calling we have in Christ Jesus? “Not as though I had already attained, either were already perfect: but I follow after, if that I may apprehend that for which also I am apprehended of Christ Jesus. Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but [this] one thing [I do], forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus. Let us therefore, as many as be perfect, be thus minded: and if in any thing ye be otherwise minded, God shall reveal even this unto you (Philippians 3:12 –15).”

Blessings,
#kent

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God Outside Your Box

June 8, 2015

Isaiah 55:8-9
“For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,” declares the LORD.
9 “As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.

God Outside Your Box

Don’t we all tend to like to make nice tidy boxes that we can nicely put God within the realms of our understanding, summations and definitions. Wouldn’t we all feel so much more in control if we knew that in this situation God was going to do this and in that one He would do that, but we are in God’s box, He is not in ours. Despite all of our theologies we cannot harness God. He defies our test tubes and analysis. Yes, there are things that we do know about Him. We do know that He is love, justice and holiness. We see so many of His attributes revealed in His Word and know that these wonderful attributes are what He acts out of. We know His Word is that which we can depend upon and which He will fulfill. Even though He is the same yesterday, today and forever, we can never limit Him to our understanding or fully grasp what there is to know about Him. If our God has limitations it is only because He has placed them upon Himself for our benefit and out of love for us.
Isn’t it ironic that God has given us a free will? Through that free will we have rebelled and sinned against Him. We have often denied Him, forsaken Him and tried Him. Yet when we see the hurt, destruction and death that our sin brings upon the earth we want to turn and blame God for allowing this to happen. We say He is not doing anything about it and yet He has already done it through His Son Jesus Christ. He has made a way, but it is still our choice and choosing that leads us out of the path of sin and destruction. Even though we are Christians and have made the choice for Him it doesn’t negate the effects that this sin-laden world can have on our lives. We can still experience its calamities and trudges just like everyone else, because in this body we are still part of this fallen race.
While in this body we still experience the limitations of our humanity, but what is different about us is that within our spirits we also experience an unlimited God. We often struggle with the fact that God doesn’t seem to act in our behalf the way we often think that He should have or that we prayed that He would. Does that make God in effectual or does it just mean that God is working in ways that we don’t understand and fully comprehend? Is God truly indifferent to our needs and cries or is there something of a higher order at work beyond what we see, feel and experience? How many times have we looked back in our experience or that of others to see that the tragedy, failure or the calamity that we felt God failed us in was the very thing that shaped our lives? It may have been the very thing that led us into the destiny and calling of what He had called us to be? This is why we mustn’t judge God prematurely when we don’t think things are happening according to our understanding and our ways. Often God is at work outside of the box of our understanding moving in ways that are infinitely higher than our immediate cognizance. What God asks of us is that we trust Him. Even when we don’t understand His hand we must trust His heart. God is working all things after the counsel of His divine will and purpose. Life will have its tragic and painful moments. Know that God is not insensitive to those places of our deepest hurts, but those are sometimes the birthplaces of our greatest miracles and triumphs. It is not necessary that we always understand what God is doing or why He does or does not move in the way that we pray. We must not make the mistake of trying to limit God to our understanding. He sees far beyond all that we could ask or think.
We often wrestle with why bad things happen to good or innocent people. Often it has do to the principles that operate in a world where sin has been sown. Just as God rains upon the just and the unjust, so sin and tragedy happen to both as well. What we are learning is that we don’t live according to the principles of this world, but in our spirit and out of our spirit we are living according to principles of the kingdom of God and His dominion. In that place we trust in His Lordship and His sovereignty, not always according to our understanding, but according to our faith. Can you still trust God even when you don’t understand and He doesn’t fit within your box?

Blessings,
#kent

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