Daily D – Matthew 5:48
Matthew 5:48 “Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect.” (NIV)
What does Jesus see when he looks at you? Good news: He sees you for all you can be by his grace and in his love.
For example, when Jesus looked at Simon, he saw Peter. Stick with me here a minute. The name Simon indicates one who hears or listens. The name Peter means rock. The primary building materials carpenters like Jesus and Joseph used were stones. Jesus, the Cornerstone, used living stones like Peter to build his church. Take a look at what Peter says about this in 1 Peter 2:1-10.
Jesus did not see Peter simply as an impulsive fisherman who could run both hot and cold within a few moments. He saw Peter who would declare what he knew in Acts 2. He saw Peter who would apply what he showed him in Acts 10. He saw Peter who would mentor John Mark. He was the deserter who mentored the deserter. It takes one to know one? It takes a recovered one to recover one.
When Jesus says, “Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect,” he is not saying we are or can be perfect. The idea is we are to ever and always press on to maturity and completeness. We are to live at a higher level than average. Since there is always more room for us to grow and develop the character of Jesus and the fruit of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22, 23), let us make it our aim to become more like Peter at the end of his story and less like Simon at the beginning.
No matter how far along the path toward perfection we are – novices, apprentices, or well along the way toward mastery – there is always room to grow. Always grow in knowledge, wisdom, insight, understanding, and most importantly, behavior. Know the words of Jesus, yes. More importantly, know the ways of Jesus.
One more thing to notice in this verse is how it is a command: Be perfect. It is also based on what Jesus had said to that point in the Sermon on the Mount. Go back and read 5:3-48. This is the kind of life Jesus wants for you. Read chapters 6 and 7 to see the rest of the sermon. This also is the kind of life Jesus wants for you. There is plenty for each of us to work on for the rest of our lives in these three chapters.
Do not despair at the distance of the pathway before you toward God’s perfection. Instead, take it a moment at a time and put into practice what you know you should do. You will fail. You will fall short. Seek God’s forgiveness and the forgiveness of others. Begin again more intelligently. God’s perfecting work takes time. Those who cooperate with his molding, shaping, sandpapering hands turn into masterpieces of his grace (Ephesians 2:10).
Do you remember what said when he created the heavens and the earth (Genesis 1) after he created Adam and Eve? He called his work, “Very good,” (verse 31). He did not say, “Perfect.” One day he will. Today is probably not that day, but that day will come. Will you be so like what he intended that there’s no big change? This is my prayer for you and me today.
I will enjoy the perfecting work of God’s grace and love in my life today.
Our Father, how do you see me? I want to be the me you want me to be. Mold me, shape me, sandpaper me as you see fit. Make me a masterpiece of your grace and love. Amen.
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Deuteronomy 6:4-9 “Listen, Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your strength. These words that I am giving you today are to be in your heart. Repeat them to your children. Talk about them when you sit in your house and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. Bind them as a sign on your hand and let them be a symbol on your forehead. Write them on the doorposts of your house and on your city gates.“
Deuteronomy 1:2, 3 It is an eleven-day journey from Horeb to Kadesh-barnea by way of Mount Seir. In the fortieth year, in the eleventh month, on the first of the month, Moses told the Israelites everything the Lord had commanded him to say to them.
Psalm 52:8, 9 ”But I am like a flourishing olive tree in the house of God; I trust in God’s faithful love forever and ever. I will praise you forever for what you have done. In the presence of your faithful people, I will put my hope in your name, for it is good.“