Links Daily Devotional

The Standard

“Therefore you are to be perfect, as your heavenly father is perfect.” (Matthew 5:48, NASB)

How intimidating is today’s short verse? When I consider its challenge, I get overwhelmed and stressed in a way. Even if I take a deep breath and relax, I feel an urge to tighten my bootstraps and say, “It’s time to become a better person”—making me overwhelmed again!

And then, usually rather quickly, I get hit in the forehead and realize that this will not move me closer to perfection. There is only one thing that will allow me to reach this standard, and it’s definitely not of my own doing.

Having played competitive golf for about 15 years, I built up many standards in my game. A lot of people call these goals, and I set them high for myself. I worked hard for many years and achieved a lot of what I set out to do. However, I didn’t achieve all these goals and standards, which translates to: I was not perfect in my competitive golf career.

Don’t get me wrong, I had a good career and thoroughly enjoyed playing competitive golf. There’s no doubt that hard work and practice will make you a better player (that is, if you’re working on the right things). But, no matter how hard I tried and how much I practiced or how many lessons I got, I was never perfect; my goals were never all fully accomplished.

So, you might be asking, how in the world am I supposed to be perfect? The short answer? Jesus Christ. Thanks be to God for his Son, “who takes away the sin of the world” (John 1:29). You see, there is absolutely nothing we can do to earn or achieve perfection. Just like my golf game, I will always come up short of perfection and never fully achieve all the things on my list.

The good news of the Gospel is this: As Christians, when God looks at us, he sees his Son, Jesus, in order that the standard might be met. Jesus lived the perfect life that we couldn’t live, died the death to achieve the payment for our sins that we couldn’t die, and then rose to life after three days—try doing that! These are the things that are required for our salvation. For us they are impossible. But for those who believe, this ought to make us forever grateful for what God did to cover our sin.

I’ll conclude with this verse found in Ephesians: “He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we would be holy and blameless before Him” (Ephesians 1:4). The standard of perfection is impossible for us to achieve. No matter what we do or how well we clean ourselves up, we will always miss the mark of a faultless, sinless life. However, since God loved us so much and we are in Christ, he views us as holy and blameless, even perfect!

Rosson Anderson
March 27, 2014
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