The Problem with Worldly Perfection

Everyone wants to be perfect. The perfect face and body. The perfect car. The perfect family and house. The perfect education. On and on the list goes and we strive to be a better version of ourselves than we were yesterday. So what's the problem with striving for perfection?


Matthew 5:48 says, "Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect." (NIV)


Perfection is something in society today that is a really big deal. From a young age, society teaches boys and girls that they must think a certain way, be a certain size, have a certain education, get married at a certain age in order to be worthwhile. Perfection is a necessity in society; society does not all for anything less than perfection and even demands drama when we do not reach perfection. There is no grace in society and this creates a situation where no one has to be loyal to anyone. If you can simply drop someone due to a mistake or something you do not like about them, you never have to maintain relationships with someone that misses the mark of society's "perfect" standards. This has created a societal precedence for "cancel culture" or "swiping right" as many are encouraged to do on today's digital dating platforms; telling us that if someone does not live us to the idea of "worldly perfection" our behavior of ignoring someone you have written off is completely acceptable. This also creates a pressure on the individual to become "perfect" and facilitates this with the rise of shows like Extreme Makeover, Married at First Sight, and 90 Day Fiance.


This, however, was never Jesus's intention when he spoke about perfection; because what He was speaking of was Godly perfection. So much of what we see in society's idea of perfection is superficial and subjective, making it nearly impossible to live up to. But God gives us more of an objective form of perfection that really comes down to, not what's on the outside, but what's on the inside and how far was can and are willing to go in loving others; in our faithfulness to others and dealing with people in good faith; and making sure our love is that agape love that God shows us. What I mean by that is the love that doesn't love others like brothers, but truly loving and valuing others; despite themselves and their backgrounds.


I'm not saying God's standard for perfection is not high (it is); but it's a perfection that God helps us achieve and has to help us achieve because it goes against our nature. It is not natural for us to love people in this way and to see the world the way God sees it so it's going to take God to help us get there and it's going to be a journey. We can't reach Godly perfection all at once, it's a development process and in that there are no set of rules for us to follow to be made perfect; rather, a constant etching away at the things that need to go and bringing forth the because of God's perfection from within. So we can actually be easier on ourselves if we have not reached perfection in God's eyes, because we know it's going to take us a long time (all of our time here) to do so. Paul said in Philippians 3:12, "Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already arrived at my goal, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me."


So, it's okay to shake off the weight of worldly perfection for Godly perfections. It's okay to not be perfect yet. God is still going to love you, and still going to help you in the process.