Jesus answered, “If you want to be perfect, go, sell your possessions and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.” Matthew 19:21 NIV
The word perfect is definitely a no-no, taboo, dirty word, but does it have to be? I think it gets way too much attention and distracts many Christians from the goal of being perfected in Christ. Don’t stop reading!
In Matthew 19:21, Jesus is telling this wealthy man to sell or “remove” what is standing in between him and God. In this man’s case, what stood between him and God was his wealth. Jesus was giving him the key on how to be ‘perfect,’ to be ‘complete’ and to be ‘connected’ with God, but Jesus’ instruction didn’t sit well with the man. See, the route to ‘perfect’ or being perfected for each and every soul is different, but this Scripture helps us see the complexity involved with selling or “removing” whatever blocks our connection with God.
Let’s put Matthew 19:21 in today’s language. Maybe it’ll resonate better or at least make you go hmm?
Jesus would be like, “Hey I want you to walk with me, get to know me and follow me, but daughter, you have to get rid of the Cadillac truck, the mini-mansion and the two closets full of clothes. It's not because these things are bad, but because there’s something about how you’re wired and these things will keep you from hearing and following Me. We can’t have that.”
Can you see the dilemma?
Unfortunately, the man in the Scripture couldn’t part with his wealth to be made mature, complete or ‘perfect’ with Christ.
But, really, isn’t this true for many of us today? Having difficulty parting with our goodies for God?
In my case, I know the one thing I didn’t want to let go of for God, ah! --men. Yes, lovely, handsome –MEN!!! I have to have a sense of humor with this, but really, it’s such a serious thing for me. Pray for me. I knew in my soul that I wouldn’t be married before I said yes to God’s call on my life. It would take forever to explain, point blank, I just knew it! I cried, rebelled, kicked, screamed, talked behind God’s back, denied it, but it still remained to be my truth. Jesus said to me, sort of like the wealthy man,
Hey Tiffany, if you want to be perfect, go, sell all your wedding magazines and no more watching Say Yes to the Dress. Then come follow me.
I have, begrudgingly, yet, over time more willingly followed. It’s such a process. Thankfully, Jesus is wise and knows what will keep each of us from a budding and blooming relationship with God. For the man in Matthew 19, it was his wealth. For me, it’s men. For you it may be your career or your desire to be a mom. Only you and God know what’s keeping you from being perfected in Christ, not perfect.
Cool thing is, God is so gracious yet persistent with each of us. God lets us know in a loving way what we need to sell or ‘remove’ and then gives us the strength to walk it out. So, if you know God is knocking and asking you to ‘remove’ something in order to connect best with Him, you’re not alone. This is tough stuff, but it isn’t about being perfect. God’s got that covered.
However, it is about being perfected and connected with God. I can tell you from experience it may take a long-g-g time to fully surrender that thing, but know that God is mysteriously cheering you on because He knows,
Daughter, you can do it!
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As humans, we give ourselves all this work to do, which indeed adds stress and can get confusing. God’s ways seem more specific, clear and peaceful, like --go, stop, pray, fast, wash, in order that we may be perfected, not perfect. I pray that none of us allows the unreachable mark of perfection to keep us from being perfected in Christ.
Lord, there’s so much life in being perfected as You see fit. Help us see it Your way. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.