Choices
Perfect There was a movie out back in the 70s called Network. It was a stupid movie, stupid plot stupid beginning, stupid middle and supremely stupid ending. There was one memorable line in it, which was spoken by Peter Finch. “I’m mad as hell and I’m not going to take it anymore!” That sums up my feelings about this article. It seems to be a pet peeve of mine that will get me started every time I hear it, at least from Christians. If non Christians say it, it has a different meaning. When I hear Christians say “nobody’s perfect” my blood starts to fizz like alka seltzer. It makes me mad because satan has done a real number on us over this one. Society has been programmed to think that perfection is impossible and that’s a lie.  We’re told to be perfect, plain and simple. Now would God tell us to do something He knew we couldn’t do? No, He wouldn’t. Satan brain washes us so we won’t aspire to the goals that God has set for us. He knows that if we really understand what it means to be perfect then he won’t have control over us, and he’s a complete control freak. Lets get this out of the way first, for anyone that thinks we’re not told to be perfect, I have this response: (Matthew 5:48)  Therefore you shall be perfect, just as your Father in heaven is perfect.) These words came straight from Jesus to you, and to me. Now if you’re a Christian Jesus word is the final word, no arguments have a chance for success. But this flies in the face of what we were taught perfection is. We’ve all been taught that perfect means flawless. By the world’s definition a perfect person would never make a mistake, never be in a bad mood, never dress in the wrong colors, never have the wrong dog, never laugh when everybody else is crying, never slip or trip in any way. That’s the world’s definition. What I have to say now is one of the most important things I’ve ever said on this site. When we study or read the Bible we MUST, absolutely MUST understand the original meanings of the words or else it gets confusing and self contradictory. The word ‘perfect’ is a prime example. Sometimes Hebrew words and Greek words don’t translate directly to English and sometimes they do but the definition of the word has changed over the centuries. Now lets see the original meaning of the word then apply it to the verse I used above and see if we see it in a different light. Perfect biblically means: teleios From  Strong's concordance, G5056; complete (in various applications of labor, growth, mental and moral character, etc.);  completeness: - of full age, man, perfect.  In plain language it means to be mature. Can we be mature? At least most of us can eventually. Now I’ll use Mat 5:48 again with the right definition: (Matthew 5:48)  Therefore you shall be mature, just as your Father in heaven is mature.) Let’s do it again with another verse: (James 1:4)  But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing. And again lets use the right meaning: (James 1:4)  But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be mature and complete, lacking nothing. Do you see the necessity of learning the original meanings of the words now? I’ll ask this question: can we be mature? Hopefully if you’re of reasonable intelligence the answer is yes. Can we be perfect? Oh dear, I see eyebrows raising even now. I know without a doubt someone is pronouncing damnation on me; fortunately they’re not the ones who make that decision and even though they think God agrees with them, they’re wrong. God wants us to be mature, what parent doesn’t want their kids to grow up? I think I should explain what it means to be spiritually mature at this point. A good analogy is a mud puddle and how people react to them. If a child slips and falls into a mud puddle they either sit and whine, cry and want sympathy or they splash around and revel in it. If an adult slips and fall into it they might grumble a little but they get up, clean themselves off and get on with where they were going. An immature Christian will lament and whine and moan and try to direct all attention to themselves but not make any effort to get out of it because it’s getting them attention. A Mature Christian will pick themselves up and go on with their spiritual journey. Another analogy is a book, a book that contains wisdom and lots of helpful tips. A child would avoid such a book like a plague for fear of accidentally learning something. Another person will pass it by because they think they know it all and don’t need any help. A mature person will stop, look through it, decide it’s worth it, and read all of it. Those were simple illustrations but I hope they made the point.  A mature Christian still slips, they still fall, they still make mistakes and commit a faux pas now and then. A mature Christian still sins; in fact if a person claims they don’t sin it’s a good indicator they have some growing to do. A mature Christian still gets mad, they don’t know every single word of the Bible but they do continue to learn. A mature Christian knows God, How He thinks, What He likes and doesn’t like. A mature Christian understands the Bible and with saying that I have to stress that understanding the bible isn’t the same as memorizing every word. A mature Christian understands sin and its consequences. A mature Christian hates it with a passion, because they understand that God hates it. It’s also important to understand that we aren’t the ones who decide who is and isn’t a mature Christian, Only God knows that but we can get a pretty good idea from watching people and the way they deal with life. I know some people that I THINK are mature; I think my best friend is, I think my wife is, I think some people in our church are and (throw some coal on the fire and hold the door open) I think I’m mature. It’s every child’s responsibility to grow up; it’s every Christian’s responsibility to mature. A child who doesn’t grow mentally is mentally retarded; a Christian who doesn’t grow is spiritually retarded. Kids who are mentally retarded aren’t responsible for their condition, Christians who are spiritually retarded ARE responsible for their condition because God provides everything we need to grow; spiritual retardation is a choice, a potentially fatal one.
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