Perfections Place

Matthew 23 Then Jesus said to the crowds and to his disciples: 2 “The teachers of the law and the Pharisees sit in Moses’ seat. 3 So you must be careful to do everything they tell you. But do not do what they do, for they do not practice what they preach. 4 They tie up heavy, cumbersome loads and put them on other people’s shoulders, but they themselves are not willing to lift a finger to move them.

5 “Everything they do is done for people to see: They make their phylacteries[a] wide and the tassels on their garments long; 6 they love the place of honor at banquets and the most important seats in the synagogues; 7 they love to be greeted with respect in the marketplaces and to be called ‘Rabbi’ by others.

8 “But you are not to be called ‘Rabbi,’ for you have one Teacher, and you are all brothers. 9 And do not call anyone on earth ‘father,’ for you have one Father, and he is in heaven. 10 Nor are you to be called instructors, for you have one Instructor, the Messiah. 11 The greatest among you will be your servant. 12 For those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted.

There was a time when I thought that righteousness was perfection. I thought that making it into heaven meant being perfect at all things. There are probably many others who feel the same way but won’t admit to it. Others may not chose to use such a word as perfection. Growing up it was believed that only the perfect ones make it to heaven. Only the snow white will receive God‘s love. I was taught by words and deeds that were not directly told to me. Of course it wasn’t like this all the time but it carried on through life outside of church. Even in the context of “the world” the good receives the rewards. So perfection took root and as innocent as it sounds, it became a virus spreading destruction. It rolls in like a tsunami wave that pushes around anything that is not firmly rooted. It’s a bully roaming the halls of an elementary school. It preys on the timid and weak, making demands of others that even it can’t fulfill.

Thinking about perfection, we usually think about a person who is a control freak. Someone who has to have everything go their way. Our society sometimes associate them with being leaders. They are seen as confident individuals who have it all together. Rightfully so since through their desire for perfection they spend hours of their time on the details. Making life around them right even at the cost of relationships. The perfectionist works very hard at keeping all the balls in the air. They break their necks to maintain their universe. But the key for them is to make it all look easy whether they realize it or not.

They are all performance driven and expect everyone around them to perform at their level just not higher. Because of this, they micro manage others and destroy any signs of someone else displaying a personality. The pressure on them is heavy and a burden. It makes them miserable. They ask for help but it’s never to their liking. Those seeking perfection are not the bold fearless people they would have us to believe that they are. They are afraid of not being accepted. Their control of others is an attempt to shape others into them thus creating the world in their own image. This securing of security and acceptance is for themselves.
Sadly, this shapes our relationship with God and how we come to misunderstand the Gospel of Jesus Christ. It is how traditions form and churches split off into new denominations. Even the Non-denominations are in fact a denomination, we just repackage the same issues. The same issues consistently resurface because we just move and try to build a new world where now these people will accept us. We never face our own sins honestly. We just continue to point out others failures and shortcomings making our own faults disappear into a false perfection. Smoke and mirrors is all we know. We never repent and submit; just work harder. We never seek and have faith; just rededicate the old idol to a new god. Regrettable we all find ourselves living in someone’s world as they try to gain acceptance. Sometimes we are just victims that merely extend the reach of perfection and performance. We create rules and laws to support narrow views of who God is. We create poor self images of who we want to be accepted as. We are Oz, the not so good wizard.
I found it to be exhausting and frustrating trying to be accepted. Being the best you, as good as it sounds it is us trying to accept ourselves. Not wanting to upset others; is just seeking acceptance again. We come to God with the same garbage of trying to get him to accept us. We pound others into the ground to be like us. Jesus confronted the scribes for making laws to burden others that they themselves don’t keep. The scribes that Jesus confronted gave one of the signs of a perfectionist, double standards. It killed my soul everyday to be perfect during church hours and then go home to my sins and failures to keep my our laws and requirements. It broke me constantly. To worry about what would happen if the balls all fall and what would I do if someone looked behind the curtain. Every new revelation or new word most people claim to receive is just a new mask to hide sins. The appearance of blessings or being favoured is more important that true salvation these days. We are surrounded by Job’s friends and their shallow understanding of how God sovereignly rules. I never realized how bad I was because I merely pointed out the beam in others eyes. I was working to get into heaven and working to earn salvation. I was working hard to be perfect because I thought that since every other sinners wants me perfect, God must want that too. I held on to rules that I can check off that I was doing. I would run to scriptures that listed fruit of the spirit and fruits of the flesh to make sure I was doing or not doing them. I read through the ten commandments and the mosaic laws to do those too. I tried to model my life after people in church and in my family who were respected by other people.
But when I understood the Gospel, things changed. When God put his hands on me and wrecked my prideful soul the scales on my eyes fell away. When I learned that man has lied to me about who God is, when I learned that perfections place is with Jesus; before and after the cross. My Lord is perfect so I don’t have to be because I could never hope to be. I had only half of the Gospel so I lived half of a life. When the gospel hit me, Jesus’ words about being born again made sense. It also put Romans 8 in a new light as well as Isaiah 64:6 because it crushed my own efforts at perfection.

Isaiah 64:5-7

5 You come to the help of those who gladly do right,
who remember your ways.
But when we continued to sin against them,
you were angry.
How then can we be saved?
6 All of us have become like one who is unclean,
and all our righteous acts are like filthy rags;
we all shrivel up like a leaf,
and like the wind our sins sweep us away.
7 No one calls on your name
or strives to lay hold of you;
for you have hidden your face from us
and have given us over to[a] our sins.

Jesus sees us for who we really are, no matter how hard we try to hide the truth. He knows how badly we need him, how badly we need the cross even if we are ignorant of that fact. The perfectionist, has allowed their actions of judgement and self-righteousness lie to them. We think that our efforts save us and makes us right before God and man. We wastefully try to gain acceptance and even our good is tainted, as our minds and hearts fixed on self are opposed to God. In that mindset we can never hope to please God and neither will a sinful man ever think we are good enough. Why? because a sinful man can’t see clearly with a beam in his own eye, he will forever be busy judging to maintain perfection. If he accepts you and your efforts, its with the expectations of worship from you.

Colossians 2:20 If with Christ you died to the elemental spirits of the world, why, as if you were still alive in the world, do you submit to regulations— 21 “Do not handle, Do not taste, Do not touch” 22 (referring to things that all perish as they are used)—according to human precepts and teachings? 23 These have indeed an appearance of wisdom in promoting self-made religion and asceticism and severity to the body, but they are of no value in stopping the indulgence of the flesh.
When I read Colossians 2:20-23, my heart breaks knowing of the truth. The Jesus taught me that it is not rules that save me, protect me, accepts me, empowers me, walks with me or loves me. No amount of perfection by human hands will ever make anyone perfect. We break ourselves to be accepted by other imperfect sinners. Even with people we don’t care for, we know that they don’t like us become they don’t accept us and it bothers us. Think about this, what gave Peter the presence of mind to ask to be crucified upside down because he did not believe that he was unworthy to be crucified like Jesus? Peter could care less for the acceptance of the world! He knew that all of the acceptance that he would ever need was in Christ Jesus. This acceptance that goes head long against perfection’s self-righteousness and pride is the Gospel. In our claim of being perfect we unknowingly claim sinlessness, righteousness, justification, glorification, redemption, and atonement. But you say I’m over reaching, its just your job or family, would you give it for God? Would you trust God to run it for you? If you hesitate then you really don’t trust God with it and its an Idol; your god of salvation. The acceptance of the Gospel is only half of the message, the other half is that Christ has already given us the power to turn our backs on our old sins and idols. Just have faith in his promises. Secretly, we don’t want Jesus to take our place in the lives of love ones. As we are seeking their worship which belongs to Jesus. Perfection by way of human performance attempt to shackle us with old chains that Jesus has crushed into dust by his perfect life, perfect death and perfect resurrection.
Galatians 6:3 For if anyone thinks he is something, when he is nothing, he deceives himself.
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2 Responses to “Perfections Place”
  1. Hello there! I could have sworn I’ve visited this site before but after going through a few of the posts I realized it’s new to me.

    Anyhow, I’m definitely pleased I discovered it and I’ll be book-marking it
    and checking back regularly!

    Like

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