This week we’ve been looking at hard sayings of Jesus and today’s probably the hardest.
Be perfect! It’s from the Sermon on the Mount, Matthew’s Gospel Chapter 5 verse 48 ‘Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect’.
I’ve just finished reading Jordan Peterson’s 12 Rules for Life. Peterson’s a Canadian psychologist of traditional belief who’s been doing the rounds of UK media recently. An interview with him on Channel 4’s gone viral on YouTube. He’s getting a lot of criticism for holding a line many Christians would subscribe to on the differentiation of the sexes.
I read his new book which appeals again and again to the Sermon on the Mount. ‘Aim high… start to stop doing what you know to be wrong. Start stopping today. Don’t waste time questioning how you know what you’re doing is wrong, if you are certain that it is’. In other words strive for perfection. Reading a 21st century writer capable of presenting afresh the shocking teaching of Jesus was good therapy and I hope I’ll be the better for it!
Aiming to be perfect is the opposite of festering in self-loathing. Its standing tall, reaching towards the stature of Christ in belief that’s our destiny. However it's impossible by our own efforts, which is why Christ’s teaching gave way to his death, resurrection and the gift of the Spirit who alone can make us holy.
Come, Holy Spirit, empty us of self-deceit and fill us with transforming grace so we can grow ‘to the measure of the full stature of Christ’ (Ephesians 4:13)