STRIVING FOR PERFECTION


It pleased Darius to set over the kingdom an hundred and twenty princes, which should be over the whole kingdom;

And over these three presidents; of whom Daniel was first: that the princes might give accounts unto them, and the king should have no damage.

Then this Daniel was preferred above the presidents and princes, because an excellent spirit was in him; and the king thought to set him over the whole realm.

Then the presidents and princes sought to find occasion against Daniel concerning the kingdom; but they could find none occasion nor fault; forasmuch as he was faithful, neither was there any error or fault found in him.

DANIEL 6: 1-4 (KJV)

Perfection is broadly defined as a state of completeness and flawlessness. The Oxford Advanced Learner’s Dictionary describes the adjective, “perfect” as “having everything that is necessary; complete and without faults or weaknesses: in perfect condition; completely correct; exact and accurate …” Perfection is excellence. Perfection may be dreamed of, hoped for, and sought after. For many, it can be imagined, imitated, pretended, poorly masqueraded, and foolishly impersonated. There are different perceptions of perfection as there are motives for pursuing perfection. However, there are different schools of thought about whether perfection is an achievable concept or not. The desire for perfection stems from a desire to be happy, to live in an ideal existence, lacking nothing, fully developed, and complete. The only way to be happy in a life obsessed with perfection is to accept imperfections and realise perfection is not something to do; it is something to become.

What does the Bible say about perfection? The Bible instructs Christians to be perfect as God the Father is perfect (Matthew 5:48). Living a perfect life is a hard task for anybody. As Christians, we may repeatedly try to be perfect, only to find that it seems like an almost an impossible aspiration. Against this backdrop, many doctrines in Christendom falsely teach that when God wants us to be perfect, He does not imply that we must be perfect, but rather that He (God) only wants us to be better. However, when God requires us to be perfect, the standard or yardstick of perfection is that of God the Father, so that nobody can dilute the meaning of the word “perfect.” The victory towards achieving perfection commences when we reckon that it is God alone who makes his people perfect. Our perfection is rooted in the finished work of Christ at Calvary. Philippians 2:13 states that “For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of His good pleasure.” If God says that perfection can be reached by His help, it means it is attainable. What is the best evidence for perfection in the Bible? Let’s review the Bible account of some characters that were adjudged by God to be perfect.

Let’s start with the Old Testament. Abraham is perhaps the first Bible character associated with perfection. God told Abraham to live a perfect life before him (Genesis 17:1). Abraham fulfilled what God has required of him and received the testimony, even from Jesus Christ (John 8: 39).

The Bible also describes Noah as a just (righteous), and perfect man who walked with God. It is very easy to fault Noah, especially after the Flood because he drank wine. All the same, in the records of the Word of God, Noah obeyed God’s entire commandment.  In the evaluation of God, Noah was perfect because Noah had obeyed God’s whole commandment (Genesis 6:9). Noah was a just man and perfect in his generation.

Job is another example of perfection. God challenged the devil saying that Job lived a perfect life (Job 1:8). The Word of God says that Job has not committed sin (Job1: 22).

It is also amazing that when King Hezekiah was sick, he asked God to remember his “perfect life” and God favoured him immediately (2 King 20:3 I).

Daniel, the character in our opening text also achieved perfection. Daniel was a man of deep convictions. He knew and understood the ways of God, even in his youth. He spent much of his young life studying the law because he knew it to his fingertips. By the time he was taken into captivity in Babylon, Daniel appreciated the importance of remaining pure and undefiled, even in a culture that was saturated with pagan practices and idol worship. It was because of his love for God and his commitment to purity that God entrusted Daniel with the ability to understand and interpret dreams and visions. And this supernatural ability placed him over others, during his service to the King Nebuchadnezzar.

Daniel was among those chosen to serve in the king’s court because he met the specific criteria stipulated by the king (Daniel 1: 4).  God gave Daniel an excellent spirit because of his obedience and submissive heart. Together with Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego, the Bible records that Daniel was ten times better than all the astrologers and magicians in the Empire. Daniel apparently placed God before the king, and God rewarded him with supernatural miracles that everyone in the empire recognised as coming from God, the creator of heaven and earth. If that is not perfection, I wonder what else is!

In the New Testament, there are accounts of perfection. In Philippians 3:15, Apostle Paul was speaking to those who were already perfect in the Church of Philippians when he stated:

“Let us therefore, as many as be perfect, be thus minded: and if in anything ye be otherwise minded, God shall reveal even this unto you.”  

In 1 Corinthians 2: 6, the Apostle rebuked the Corinthian Church for its sins. Nevertheless, midway he recognised that there were perfect people in the Church. It may be difficult to fathom this from the carnal, but God’s purpose for the church is to perfect believers even to the yardstick of the perfection of our Lord Jesus Christ. Our Jesus Christ died to purify the Church and to make it perfect for himself. Ephesians 5:25-27 provides that:

“Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it; That he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word, That he might present it to himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish.” 

The very object of the ministry of apostles was geared towards the goal of presenting every man perfect in Christ Jesus.  Colossians 1: 28 -29 states that:

“Whom we preach, warning every man, and teaching every man in all wisdom; that we may present every man perfect in Christ Jesus: Whereunto I also labour, striving according to his working, which worketh in me mightily.”  

Perfection for the Christian lies is in being and remaining in Christ. Perfect children of God are the ones who generate ideas that can turn things around. The church is perfect when it yields to the leading of the bridegroom.

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