Tuesday, October 22, 2019

Nobody's Perfect


Matthew 5:48
Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect.

(Susie Fairchild's conversation with Anna as they are planning to prepare chicken and dumplings - Excerpt from Children in the Garden.)

"Do you really think they'll like how I've made them?"  Anna asked with a hint of uncertainty in her voice.
"Of course, they will, dear," Mrs. Fairchild assured her.  "We have time for a little more practice, and I will help you do them perfectly."
"Mom says no one is perfect," Anna said, "so how can I do something perfectly?"
Susie smiled inwardly at the inherent knowledge of the young.  It never ceased to amaze her that the words spoken with such innocence could always cause her to review her own shortcomings.
She said to Anna, "All right, dear, maybe not perfect, but as close to it as one can get, how's that?"
"Okay," she replied and skipped gaily back to the kitchen.

A few weeks ago, granddaughter, Virginia Rose, and I are having a conversation about her fourth-grade classmates.  "I have lots of friends, Gammie," she states, "but there are some girls who go around telling everybody they're perfect."

"Really?  What do say to them?"

"I tell them that nobody's perfect," Virginia answers.  "And you know what they say?"

"No, what?"

"But I'm perfect!"  Virginia shakes her head in exasperation.  "They just don't understand humankind."

I have to agree wholeheartedly, and not without my own inward smile at Virginia's precocious observation.  We are all flawed.  We all make mistakes.

For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God. ~Romans 3:23

And if we were perfect, why would any of us have need of a Savior?

So, what does Jesus actually mean when He tells us to "be perfect?"

As Pastor Alex explains in a recent sermon, becoming perfect is a sanctification process which lasts all of our days.  It is God's labor of love working within us.

But there is a catch.  God cannot do His work of perfecting us unless we submit entirely to His will.  If we surrender to Him, though, He will be faithful to mold and shape us into a true reflection of Christ Jesus.

That's what I want my "perfect" to look like.

How about you?

Amen!

30 comments:

  1. Perfection will never happen here on earth. I know there are some religious traditions that teach they will reach it here, but that is never...NEVER...going to happen. Sanctification, as your pastor states it is a life long process. Good post and thoughts today Martha.

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    1. I'm so glad you found this post to be on track, Bill. We are all a work in progress, aren't we?
      Love and blessings!

      Delete
  2. What I find amazing is that God can see us in our perfected state, only through the sacrifice of His son. Yet He is able to continue to work in us and through us despite our imperfection here on earth.

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    1. Yes, Ryan, that is truly amazing! Knowing we will one day be perfected in Christ is certainly something to look forward to.
      Love and blessings!

      Delete
  3. Do you remember the song: "Oh Lord it's hard to be humble; when you're perfect in every way!"

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qdZ5wY9XxdA

    Great post today, Martha. I agree that no one is perfect, but it should not stop us from trying. With God's help we'll get there some day.

    God bless.

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    1. Victor, I remember those lyrics, but I'll have to go watch the video link you posted here for a refresher. Thanks for your thoughtful gesture and comment!
      Love and blessings!

      Delete
  4. Powerful post, Martha. Love the introduction about chicken and dumplings (love those too), and the story from Virginia Rose is priceless. Amazes me how in her young age she says, "They just don't understand humankind."

    Women often ask me why the Lord would ask us to be perfect if perfectionism is not attainable by us humans. So I like how your pastor explains it as the sanctification process and you note we must surrender to the process and God's will and work in us!

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    1. Thanks, Karen, for your kind words about Virginia. Yes, her wise words often catch me off guard!
      And I'm glad you liked the way my pastor explained becoming perfect - it really helped me understand the process, too.
      Love and blessings!

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  5. Me, too!
    Virginia Rose keeps amazing me! I hope I'm around long enough (*smile*) to see what she becomes in another 10-15 years. Sadly, I fear those 'perfect' girls are going to have a rude awakening one of these days.

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    1. Yes, Mevely, I'm sure it will be a rude awakening for Virginia's classmates sooner than later. I'm so glad that Virginia understands the concept that humanity is fallen, and only God can restore us and redeem us.
      Love and blessings!

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  6. Perfect is an interesting word, changing like an iridescent pearl in varying light. I related in a recent post my experience of falling off the roof and receiving a very clear message that everything was perfect, just the way it was. No matter what. That was the word. I believe my experience and yet perfection is hard to see in much of today's world. So I think that if I see with God's eyes, I see the perfection. Like you said, it's about complete surrender.

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    1. Yes, Galen, I do recall that post you wrote, and glad you brought it up here. Everything IS perfect when we remember that God is at work within us. Complete surrender - YES!
      Love and blessings!

      Delete
  7. What a wise and absolutely precious observation by Ms. Virginia Rose. I feel like I know her personally from your posts, Martha. Indeed, no one is perfect. I love this lesson: "God cannot do His work of perfecting us unless we submit entirely to His will."
    I also enjoyed revisiting Children in the Garden with your excerpt, too. Such a delightful series!

    Blessings to you and yours!

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    1. I'm so glad that you liked Virginia's wise observation, and that you enjoyed revisiting The Glade Series, Beckie! I just recently finished reading the first three-books to Virginia, and she truly loved them. Made my heart sing!
      And yes, it's up to us to surrender to God's will in order for Him to complete the good work He has started and will complete in us.
      Love and blessings!

      Delete
  8. Your granddaughter sounds like she is wide beyond her years. You have taught her well! :)

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    1. I wish I could take all the credit, Laurie, but her parents have done a great job, too. Virginia does absorb information like a sponge, and seems to be able to digest it better than most her age. We are so blessed to have her in our lives.
      Love and blessings!

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  9. Amen! Me, too! Virginia is a very observant, deep-thinking little girl. I know you must be so proud of her!

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    1. I am proud of Virginia, Cheryl, I must confess. :) Glad you are on the band wagon with me!
      Love and blessings!

      Delete
  10. From the mouths of babes... :) It's amazing how God gives wisdom to children. Good for Virginia for standing up for the truth to her friends. :) I love the way your pastor explained sanctification. Yes, I want my "perfect" to be like that, too! Love and blessings to you!

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    1. From the mouths of babes, indeed, Trudy! Children seem to innately know the truth, and are not afraid to speak up when they feel moved to. Maybe, that's why Jesus says so many times that the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.
      Glad you want your "perfect" to look like that!
      Love and blessings!

      Delete
  11. Love her fourth grade wisdom. I have heard this verse is mistranslated. Perfect means more whole. We are made whole with God. I like that definition better. Perfect carries too much baggage. LOL Have a great weekend, Martha

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    1. Yes, Jean, I like that meaning of "whole" or "complete" much better than our ordinary every day perception of the word "perfect." Still, I believe it takes daily submission to God to stay on that road.
      I love Virginia's wisdom, too!
      Love and blessings!

      Delete
  12. We are daily being perfected into the image of Christ our Savior...becoming more and more like Him as we walk with Him, talk with Him, and LISTEN to Him. The job won't be complete until we reach heaven, but it's great that we have the Lord to guide us along that path until we reach that goal. We have much to learn, no matter HOW perfect we may think we are!! Love Virginia Rose and her insights. She's growing into a mature young lady.

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    1. Absolutely, Pamela! We are being slowly but surely perfected into Jesus' image each day we submit anew to Him. There is always something new to learn, that's for sure!
      I'll tell Virginia that you liked her insight. She is getting so big!
      Love and blessings!

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  13. Martha, you've penned another beautiful, amazing, and heart-felt post. Virginia is wise in her youth--if she keeps it that will benefit her as she grows and matures.

    John Wesley talked/wrote about "going on towards perfection"--the sanctification process.

    We humans, this side of Heaven, are not perfect. However, God is perfect and always does the right thing. For that I'm thankful!

    Love and blessings!

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    1. Yes, Kim, the sanctification process is definitely a tenet of the United Methodist Church, thanks to John Wesley. Our being made perfect as our Father is perfect is a long, but rewarding, journey.
      And with you, I'm hoping Virginia keeps those wise and mature thought in her head. She is certainly turning out to be a very observant, thoughtful young lady.
      Love and blessings!

      Delete

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