“…Aim for perfection…(II Corinthians 13:11).”
We have all had situations in which we are involved in conflict. These conflicts may occur in the workplace, at home, in the neighborhood or among friends. They make life miserable. Who likes confrontation?
The author of Psalm120 was no stranger to conflict. He expresses his frustration that he lives in an atmosphere of anatagonism. When the Psalmist opened his mouth, the people in his neighborhood opposed him. Perhaps it was the way he said it. He was supposedly uttering peaceful words, but by the time he was through the neighbors were sharpening their knives. He couldn’t win.
We can all relate. We’ve all watched our words become an inferno and thought,”What did I say?”
The tongue is just a symptom of what is in our heart. We’re not perfect. That’s why the gospel is so great. Jesus died for our sins so we wouldn’t have to be judged eternally for our imperfections. With Jesus, there is grace.
Those of us who know very well our sins and weaknessess rely heavily on the fact that one of God’s attributes is His grace. He cuts us some slack because of Jesus’ work on the cross. I have been quite grateful for His grace the last few years as I have been dealing with my faults.
The one thing I seemed to have forgotten, however, is that God does in fact want us to be godly. Proverbs 20 has an interesing dichotomy, though. First the author tells us, “The righteous man leads a blameless life (v. 7)”. But right aftert that he writes,”Who can say,’I have kept my heart pure; I am clean and without sin’? (v 9).
The bumper sticker that says that Christians aren’t perfect, just forgiven is quite true. But this doesn’t mean we shouldn’t at least aim for perfection. Where we get into trouble is when we emphasize grace and forget the holiness that comes from Jesus, also.
Paul’s wish for the Corinthians was,”May the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all (II Corinthians 13:14)”. What I have discovered is that the fellowship of the Holy Spirit cannot be obtained without holiness, and holiness cannot be obtained without Him.
Therefore, we ought to at least give perfection a try.