Published May 4, 2017 by Janice Millirons Hayman in Associate Pastor Article

Devotional Passage:
Matthew 5:43-48

“Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect.”

     Having recently gone through the rehearsals and preparation for an Easter musical, I can say that old adage with renewed vigor: “practice makes perfect.”   Truth be told, practice makes perfect as far as human imperfection goes.  And why is that you ask?  Namely this:  if we did whatever we do perfectly every time as Christians, we would either be machines or already living in heaven.  Ask any professional, doctor, lawyer, pastor, musician, salesperson, chairman of the board, painter, plumber, electrician or what have you, and if they are at all honest with you, they will admit that they have made mistakes.  Did you notice the “s” at the end of that last sentence?  Yep, they will be even more honest with you if they tell you that they have made many mistakes.  “Nobody’s perfect” someone has so wisely said!
So, what does this drive for perfection have to do with the Christian life?   In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus said to be perfect, just like God (Matthew 5:48).  We stop dead in our tracks after we read that and say, “Whoa, Lord, you want us to be perfect?  How can we be perfect?”  One thing is for sure, life experiences have taught us over and over that there is no way under God’s heaven that we can ever be perfect at anything.  So, what did Jesus mean?
Jesus was talking about the process of sanctification.  That’s a big theological word that simply means we are supposed to work out what God has worked into us when He saved us.  It means letting Jesus take over more and more of our lives so that we become more and more like Him.  It means that today we can be more like Jesus than we were yesterday and tomorrow we can be more like Jesus than we are today.   Practicing the life of Christ in your day by day makes you more and more perfect, more and more like Christ.  One day, we will be absolutely perfect in heaven, either when Jesus raptures us or calls us home.
The context of Matthew 5:48 is in the paragraph of the Sermon on the Mount where Jesus is talking about how to relate to our neighbors and enemies.   One way to start working on being more like Jesus is in treating our friends, neighbors and enemies like Jesus would treat them.

Thank you, Lord, for the victories!  Your resurrection power helps me live more and more for You day by day.