“Be perfect therefore as your heavenly Father is perfect.”

(Matthew 5:48)

Ouch. There’s an impossible task. I might just as well crawl back in bed rather than begin my day. I’ve already failed. Just the other day I was thinking, “All my righteousness is like filthy rags (Isa. 64:6)”

If everything I do is like a filthy rag, how can I ever be perfect like my heavenly Father? What’s the use?

There are a lot of different processes taking place here. On the one hand, we are to grow in our love of God, our obedience, our knowledge. The one goal is to be more like Jesus. That’s a process called maturity of our beliefs and practices. That process will also lead to our testimony to others.

On the other hand, the more we grow in our knowledge and love of God, the more we see the effects of sin in our lives. Even the good we try to do is filled with selfishness and the temptation to say, “Look at me, look what I did.”

Practically, we have to look at what a misapplication of these verses can lead to. If we misapply, we will all want to crawl back into bed and never venture or attempt anything. Misapplication will lead us to believe nothing should be done unless it is done perfectly. Make no mistake, if I am going in for brain surgery, I want the doctor to have the highest standards, no sponges left behind. But if I wait for the doctor who will perform perfect surgery, I might never get operated on.

On a simpler level, many people fail to perform because they’re afraid they will not be perfect.  They may not want to give a testimony because they are afraid they will say the wrong thing. This becomes a paralysis of action. Inaction can become a sinful response; a filthy rag.

I have heard soldiers say all battle plans are perfect until the battle begins. We’re in a battle. We need sound plans. We want to strive for perfection but that cannot stop us from taking action. If we take pride in our attempt at perfection, that perfection becomes a filthy rag.

Aim for perfection, but don’t wait for perfection. Don’t allow that striving to become a self-righteous pursuit otherwise you will be dressed in filthy rags.

Ken Lont (our Executive Director) and his wife, Judy, have been attending GRC since it first opened its door in 1999.