The pastor walked the aisles of the sanctuary in an informal manner, teaching from the printout for the bible study. He asked the questions from the sheet and added a few of his own. You know that old saying, “if you do not already know the answer to a question then you might now want to ask it?” Someone should have reminded him that when I am around you probably have no idea what the answer will be.
“Which of us is perfect?” He had been going along at a nice clip and had the entire group in the study nodding along in their understanding – well, almost the entire group.
I raised my hand.
He stopped and stared. His eyebrows furrowed and I tried not to smile. It was not what he expected and it always gave me a bit of satisfaction when I was not what was expected (I get it a lot). “You are NOT perfect.”
Now it was my turn to nod my head. “I am in the blood of Jesus.”
He never asked what he assumed to be a rhetorical question around me again without clarifying with the phrase “except for you.” I still smile when I think about that day.
It was not the only time I have offered up the concept that I am perfect and most of the time I get about the same reaction that I received in that bible study.
“You are not perfect. You are just human.”
“You make mistakes all the time.”
“You might be perfect until you get out of bed for the day.”
I have heard them all, but that nagging feeling that I am perfect continued to cling to my heart. This morning, I was reading through Matthew and the idea of perfection was stirred again. The first spark was to say that I was “perfected” instead of always saying “perfect.” I just felt in my heart that there was more.
I looked up the definition of “perfect” and found that it meant “having all the required or desirable elements, qualities or characteristics.” It also means “absolute; complete.” I now had a better understanding of how the world viewed “perfect,” but I needed to see what the Word had to say. I often do word studies utilizing the Strong’s Concordance, so that was my tool of choice.
In the Old Testament, the word “perfect” is translated from tamiym and it is an adjective that means “complete, whole, entire, sound.” The New Testament word teleioō is a verb that means “complete.” Jesus used it when talking to the rich young ruler along with other times in his teachings. Paul uses a similar word teleios which means “brought to its end, finished; wanting nothing necessary to completeness.”
So often, this world takes words or phrases that God designed for peace and comfort and either waters them down so that they no longer mean as much (like LOVE) or turns them on their head so that no longer hold the same meaning.
PERFECT – I do not think that means what you think it means.
I am perfect – not because of what I do or what I do not do or what I bring to the table. I am completed through the actions on the cross over two thousand years ago – the actions that I have claimed and that have covered all that I was and made me into something new.
Are you perfect?