Friday, August 15, 2014

Choices and Being Perfect

Today will be filled with choices. Choices can become tiresome and sometimes I wish I didn't have to make SO many choices. What to fix for breakfast, lunch and dinner every single day. Choosing how to spend free time. There are many delicate areas of life where choices can feel excruciating to make. But still, they must be made. We're never free from choices. They are relentless.

The choice of what to say and not to say and what to do and not to do are what really count. We can't count our good intentions. If someone meant to say thank you or meant to send a birthday card, or meant to help you with something ... or or or ... we all know that it is only what is done that matters. 
Only what actually transpires. 

A lot of trouble begins from wanting to control other people and circumstances going on around us or in the world at large. But we typically don't want to control the one thing we can control, and that is ourselves. But God calls us to do just that.

Phil 4:5 Let your moderation be known unto all men. The Lord is at hand. 

It's funny how we get the two reversed isn't it? God expects us to control our responses.  How we react to life, people, situations, and most importantly, to His commands is huge. 

But God actually goes further than this and commands us to be perfect

To understand what perfect means, the Bible actually defines the term.  The King James Bible has its own built-in dictionary and by studying the context where a particular word is repeated, we can understand the definition of that word.  

The word perfect is interesting to me.  It's elusive, like the sky. We can see it in God's creation to an extent. Taking into consideration the curse and the fall, I still see the perfection of God in his magnificent creation every single day. His perfection is astounding.

I've always found it amusing when people are compelled to explain why they aren't perfect. Like they'll actually say, "I'm not perfect, but" or "well nobody's perfect" etc.  It reveals that subconsciously they know that perfection IS the standard. God's standard. They know they should be perfect, but have failed to be so. They have fallen short. (Romans 3:23) As we all eventually do. I just find it curious that some people find it necessary to actually acknowledge it out loud. 

Below are 30 of the 94 places where the word perfect appears in the King James Bible. It would be beneficial to look up and read them all, but I'm just using these because I thought they were the most pertinent to this subject.

People and Perfection

Genesis 6:8
Noah was a just man and perfect in his generations, and Noah walked with God.

Genesis 17:1
And when Abram was ninety years old and nine, the Lord appeared to Abram, and said unto him, I am the Almighty God; walk before me, and be thou perfect.

Job 1:1
There was a man in the land of Uz, whose name was Job; and that man was perfect and upright, and one that feared God, and eschewed evil.

Matthew 5:45
Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect.

Psalm 37:37
Mark the perfect man, and behold the upright:
for the end of that man is peace.
 But the transgressors shall be destroyed together:
the end of the wicked shall be cut off.

II Corinthians 13:10
Finally, brethren, farewell. Be perfect, be of good comfort, be of one mind, live in peace; and the God of love and peace shall be with you.

God's Perfection

II Samuel 22:31
As for God, his way is perfect;
the word of the Lord is tried:
he is a buckler to all them that trust in him.

Psalm 19:7
The law of the Lord is perfect, converting the soul:
the testimony of the Lord is sure, making wise the simple.

Matthew 5:45
Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect.

The Perfect Heart and Way

II Samuel 22:33
God is my strength and power:
and he maketh my way perfect.

I Kings 8:61
Let your heart therefore be perfect with the Lord our God, to walk in his statutes, and to keep his commandments, as at this day.

I Kings 11:4 
For it came to pass, when Solomon was old, that his wives turned away his heart after other gods:and his heart was not perfect with the Lord his God, as was the heart of David his father. For Solomon went after Ashtoreth the goddess of the Zidonians, and after Milcom the abomination of the Ammonites. And Solomon did evil in the sight of the Lord, and went not fully after the Lord, as did David his father.

I Chronicles 28:9
And thou, Solomon my son, know thou the God of thy father, and serve him with a perfect heart and with a willing mind: for the Lord searcheth all hearts, and understandeth all the imaginations of the thoughts: if thou seek him, he will be found of thee; but if thou forsake him, he will cast thee off for ever.

II Chronicles 16:9
For the eyes of the Lord run to and fro throughout the whole earth, to shew himself strong in the behalf of them whose heart is perfect toward him. Herein thou hast done foolishly:therefore from henceforth thou shalt have wars.

II Chronicles 25:1
And he did that which was right in the sight of the Lord, but not with a perfect heart.

Psalm 18:32
It is God that girdeth me with strength,
and maketh my way perfect.
 He maketh my feet like hinds 'feet,
and setteth me upon my high places.

Psalm 101:2
I will behave myself wisely in a perfect way. O when wilt thou come unto me?
I will walk within my house with a perfect heart.
I will set no wicked thing before mine eyes:
I hate the work of them that turn aside; it shall not cleave to me.
A froward heart shall depart from me:I will not know a wicked person.

Proverbs 11:3
Riches profit not in the day of wrath:
but righteousness delivereth from death.
The righteousness of the perfect shall direct his way:
but the wicked shall fall by his own wickedness.
The righteousness of the upright shall deliver them:
but transgressors shall be taken in their own naughtiness.

Made/Kept Perfect

Isaiah 26:3
Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace,
whose mind is stayed on thee:
because he trusteth in thee.
Trust ye in the Lord for ever:
for in the Lord Jehovah is everlasting strength.

II Corinthians 12:7-9
...there was given to me a thorn in the flesh, the messenger of Satan to buffet me, lest I should be exalted above measure. For this thing I besought the Lord thrice, that it might depart from me. And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee:for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses for Christ's sake:for when I am weak, then am I strong.

Philippians 3:10
That I may know him, and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his sufferings, being made conformable unto his death; If by any means I might attain unto the resurrection of the dead.
 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.

Colossians 1:27-29
To whom God would make known what is the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles; which is Christ in you, the hope of glory: Whom we preach, warning every man, and teaching every man in all wisdom; that we may present every man perfect in Christ Jesus: Whereunto I also labour, striving according to his working, which worketh in me mightily.

II Timothy 3:16-17
All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: That the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works.

Hebrews 2:10
For it became him, for whom are all things, and by whom are all things, in bringing many sons unto glory, to make the captain of their salvation perfect through sufferings.

Hebrews 5:8-9
Though he were a Son, yet learned he obedience by the things which he suffered; And being made perfect, he became the author of eternal salvation unto all them that obey him.

James 1:2-6
My brethren, count it all joy when ye fall into divers temptations; Knowing this, that the trying of your faith worketh patience. But let patience have her perfect work, that ye may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing. If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him. But let him ask in faith, nothing wavering.

James 2:19
But wilt thou know, O vain man, that faith without works is dead? Was not Abraham our father justified by works, when he had offered Isaac his son upon the altar? Seest thou how faith wrought with his works, and by works was faith made perfect? And the scripture was fulfilled which saith, Abraham believed God, and it was imputed unto him for righteousness:and he was called the Friend of God. Ye see then how that by works a man is justified, and not by faith only.

Revelation 2:2
Be watchful, and strengthen the things which remain, that are ready to die:for I have not found thy works perfect before God...(6) He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches.

So we see from Scripture, there are few key aspects to being perfect. There is:

1) having a perfect heart toward God.

2) being made/kept perfect through trials.

3) perfection through faith in Jesus Christ.

The Lord's perfection is imputed or accounted to them that believe on his name. Our own righteousness is as filthy rags and will never be enough to atone for our personal sin. To clarify, you are only held accountable for YOUR sin. Not your father's, not Adam's, not your neighbor's. Just yours.

Ezekiel 18:20
The soul that sinneth, it shall die. The son shall not bear the iniquity of the father, neither shall the father bear the iniquity of the son:the righteousness of the righteous shall be upon him, and the wickedness of the wicked shall be upon him. But if the wicked will turn from all his sins that he hath committed, and keep all my statutes, and do that which is lawful and right, he shall surely live, he shall not die

Scriptures indicates that being perfect begins with the heart and spills out into our thoughts, intentions, understanding and beliefs and actions. When our heart is convicted, convinced and determined to follow Christ, obey his commands and walk uprightly, the mind follows. The mind is the command center. It is where our actions begin. So it is possible to behave perfectly but it takes a stupendous amount of inner control and patience to maintain it 100% of the time.

That is where trials come into play. As we mature and grow in the Lord, he is constantly perfecting us through trials. When you're going through a trial, look to Jesus. Rejoice in that you are being made perfect. Rejoice that when you're weak, his strength is made perfect in you. And that a heart that is set perfectly upon God is what he wants. Our total devotion, nothing in the way.  Just as it is with our spouse. I want to be my husband's Number one earthly priority  (God being his first). And he wants to be my number one.  When that kind of priority is met and intimacy is flowing, our marriages are in unity and in perfect peace. If/when we mess up, or make mistakes, the goal is to make our heart toward each other rebound as quickly as possible. Marriage is such an amazing and mysterious typecast of Jesus and his bride. :)

No comments: