Be Perfect

“You have heard the law that says, ‘Love your neighbor’ and hate your enemy. But I say, love your enemies! …If you love only those who love you, what reward is there for that? Even corrupt tax collectors do that much. If you are kind only to your friends, how are you different from anyone else? Even pagans do that. But you are to be perfect, even as your Father in heaven is perfect.
(Matthew 5:43-48)

Relate: Be perfect. Those aren’t necessarily healthy words to tell a person who already tends a bit too legalistic. I take James’ words to heart when he says, “Faith without works is dead.” But sometimes I take it too far. I work, and I work, and I work forgetting that there is supposed to be a faith that centers and grounds all that I am doing. I know that it is good and healthy to spend a certain amount of time each day with God in prayer. But sometimes I seem to be more concerned with making sure that I am “logging in my time” than I am in actually using the time in prayer to grow my relationship with God or to be an intercessor on behalf of my world. I know that it is good and healthy to dive into studying God’s Word each day, but sometimes I am more concerned with the accumulation of knowledge of the study than with the God who should be the center of my attention. So “Be perfect” might not be the best thing for Jesus to tell me. Taken out of context, this can be more of a stumbling block than a challenge.

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