My posts come from my personal daily scripture readings and a part of my personal accountability. If we are going to grow as followers of Christ, we must be in the Word! If you miss these a few days, something has kept me from it; but if they're gone for too many days, call me on the carpet. We need to hold one another accountable. I follow the readings and journaling from lifejournal.me. Join me on this journey as our lives are to Reflect the Image-and Jesus IS the image. Peace, Carla Sunberg
Thursday, December 6, 2012
Perfect, Perfect, Perfect
Not that I have already obtained it or have already become
perfect, but I press on so that I may lay hold of that for which also I
was laid hold of by Christ Jesus.
(Philippians 3:12 NASB)
Brethren, I do not regard myself as having laid hold of it yet; but one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and reaching forward to what lies ahead,
(Philippians 3:13 NASB)
I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.
(Philippians 3:14 NASB)
Let us therefore, as many as are perfect, have this attitude; and if
in anything you have a different attitude, God will reveal that also to
(Philippians 3:15 NASB)
however, let us keep living by that same standard to which we have attained.
(Philippians 3:16 NASB)
How we hate hearing the word perfect, because in our usage of the
word -- we will never be perfect human beings. We make mistakes, we are
too fat, we get mad at our spouses, etc. etc. But over and over again
Paul uses the word "perfect" but always in a sentence where he says that
we have to keep pressing on. How can you be perfect, and yet have to
keep moving on toward something more?
Paul's understanding of perfection and the 21st Century western
understanding of perfection are two radically different ideas. Paul's
Jewish understanding of perfection was that the created vessel would fulfill
the purpose for which it was created. For a human, to be made perfect
was to have the image of God restored in you -- because that is the
purpose for which you were created -- to be a reflection of Jesus Christ
to the world. But what happens to a reflection when it gets closer to
the object which it is reflecting? The image doesn't change, but the
size of it does. Having been made perfect -- having been restored in
the image of God, the perfect reflection of Jesus is evident in our
lives, but this is just a part of the journey. Now, throughout the
remainder of our lives, we, together with Paul, are to press on toward
the goal which is Jesus Christ. I keep straining toward him, I keep
seeking his face, I am continually turned in his direction and I keep
pressing on. I do not move backward, I forget what is behind and my
desire is ever only and always Jesus!
How do we keep Jesus before us on a daily basis? This is the
challenge of the Christian walk and it's why Paul was continually
reminding his converts of the need of daily discipleship. We may turn
toward Christ, but that is only the beginning. The Christian life is
one of continual growth and we must be active participants in the
journey. How do we do this? Through the practice of spiritual
discipline. First and foremost is the practice of prayer. Prayer must
be a daily feature of our lives and we need to ask God to help us become
like Paul who prayed continually. How is that possible? By the
development of an attitude of prayer in our hearts and lives. We are to
be in constant contact and communication with the Lord! He is our
guide and companion on a daily basis. How else do we grow in him? By
reading the word on a regular basis. In this way we know how to live
our lives. We must read the very handbook created for this purpose.
We are to take the word into our hands on a regular basis and ask God to
reveal to us what we are to learn and how it is to shape us. We are
called to fast as well, and finally, we are to be imitators of Christ.
How did Jesus live out his life? How should we be living out our lives
on a daily basis?
No, I don't like that word perfect because it conjures up the wrong
picture in my mind, but Jesus IS perfect in all ways. For me to be
perfect is for him to shine through me -- Jesus, the perfect One!
Therefore it's not impossible to be made perfect in this lifetime. We
are to fulfill the purpose for which we were created. We are to reflect
Jesus, the perfect One, to this world that so desperately needs to see
Jesus. And we are to never stop the spiritual journey -- we are to be
ever growing and drawing closer to him. Gregory of Nyssa actually said
that he thought it was a sin to NOT be growing spiritually. That is our
calling, as God's people, to take responsibility to keep facing the
right direction and keep climbing toward Jesus, The perfect One!
Lord, may this be a day of drawing closer to you. Amen.