We are all a messed up people. No matter how hard I try, no matter how much I ask God to help me not make bonehead mistakes, I still make them. It can be extremely frustrating at times when your heart wants one thing yet you do something completely different. In my past, making one dumb choice would have led to 2, then 3, then 5 dozen…in one day. I would wind up in a huge, deep rut and climbing out was difficult to say the least.
Not long ago, God opened my eyes to something that I hadn’t seen, or at least hadn’t paid much attention to. Everyone was just like me. No matter how ‘good’ someone appeared on the outside, they were messed up just like me. Sure, people can have different motives for doing what they do and some seemingly don’t care about the choices they make, but no one, not one, is faultless. No matter how hard we try to not mess up, we mess up.
Even though I lived so much of my life like this, even though I was a horrible sinner, God continued nudging me. He continued to give me a hunger for His word. As I studied more and more, I began to see the ‘complete’ picture. I began to understand why Paul seemingly contradicted Jesus when he said in Romans 3:10 “There is no one righteous, not even one;” When we understand that we are not perfect and that God loves us, despite our failures, it frees us to live the life He intended for us. Satan can whisper whatever he wants, I no longer listen. I know the truth and the truth sets me free.
So back to the question, why did Jesus tell us to be perfect? There are a couple answers to the question. First, we are to hunger for perfection. Jesus said in Matthew 5:6 “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled.” We are to give everything we have to please God. Even though we sometimes fall, we must keep getting back up. We must be relentless in our pursuit of obeying the creator. I am not sure there is a better verse to sum it up as this one. Romans 5:19 “For just as through the disobedience of the one man the many were made sinners, so also through the obedience of the one man the many will be made righteous.” Because of Adam, we are all sinners. Because of what Jesus did for us, many will be made right with God if we follow Him.
The other answer to the question is through love. If we truly have faith and love for God, our faith and love for God will be expressed through our love for others (Galatians 5:6) What is the greatest commandment for us? What is most important to God? Matthew 22:36-40 “Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?” Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.” Paul reiterates this same thought in Galatians 5:14 “For the entire law is fulfilled in keeping this one command: “Love your neighbor as yourself.” Even though we are sinners, we will be made right with God if we follow Jesus. There is no amount of good deeds we can do to ever be made right. There is no amount of will power or trying that will make us perfect. It’s about our hearts. It’s about what Jesus already did.
When satan whispers in your ear that you are loser when you stumble, don’t listen. When he tells you that God can’t possibly love you because you are not good enough, ignore him. He has already lost and he knows it. The only thing he can do is try to convince you of his lies and in doing so weaken your relationship with God.
We can’t be perfect but we must try to be. We must love God and believe in Him with all our hearts and we must love people. God is going to put people in your lives this week that need help. They may be hungry for food or they may be hungry for the truth. God is watching what you do. Will you choose to give them hope or will you choose to ignore them? Every believer will mess up but not every believer will choose to love. Even demons believe in God and we know their eternal destination. If we want to spend eternity in the presence of the almighty God we must choose love. What do you choose? 1 Peter 4:8 “Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins.”