In Process?

Posted on July 5, 2013 at 6:00 am by wpadmin Comments Off on In Process?

Reference books and different translations of the Bible were scattered all over the top of my patio table, as I researched what they had to say about a verse that had long puzzled me. It is in Matthew 5:48, “Therefore you shall be perfect, just as your Father in heaven is perfect.” I did not understand what God was saying as I knew I was not, nor ever would be perfect, as Mr. Webster defines it.

He says it means to be “completed without a flaw.” I had to laugh at that! Just to look at my body would be enough to let anyone know I am not perfect and then we start on my mental, emotional and physical lack of perfection and the list is endless.

I also knew the Hebrew concept of salvation includes the gift from God, the event of inviting Jesus Christ into your heart, but it’s also an encompassing or ongoing process of restoration in our soul (mind, will and emotions) talked about in 2 Thessalonians 5:23. Obviously, God must not have been thinking of Mr. Webster’s kind of perfection since He talks about renewing our mind and soul.

So what did it mean when Matthew 5:48 and specifically the word, “perfect,” was written in Greek? Going back to the Greek dictionary for more help, I discovered the Greek Word for “perfect” in this Scripture means, “an on-going process toward maturity.” Wow! That certainly is not the same as “completed without a flaw,” like Mr. Webster said.

While I was thinking about the two different definitions, I found I was gazing at the lemon tree that grew at the side of the patio. I felt the Lord speak into my mind, “Look at your lemon tree.” (It’s OK to talk aloud or even think back and forth with God. It will be a blessing to you). “Yes, Father,” I responded, “I see it.”

“Well,” I heard God say in my heart, “Do you see the ripe lemons?”

“Yes, Father, I see them. They are a wonderful example of Your creation, Your perfection.”

“Do you see the blossoms and the little hard, green beginnings of the lemon too?”

“I do, Father!”

“Don’t you think they are perfect too?”

Suddenly, I understood. Certainly the blossoms were perfect, because that was the way they were supposed to be at that stage. The little hard, green buds were also perfect because that was the way they were to be at that time too! Finally, the yellow, juicy, ripe lemons had reached perfection as we enjoy their juice in our lemonade.

What freedom and understanding, what joy I experienced as I was released from the guilt of never measuring up to the standard of “perfection” I imagined I was to strive for. No, I realized it was the fact I was desiring to change, to grow, to be “in process toward maturity” that God looked at and considered perfection. No matter what stage of growth toward maturity I am in, God considers me perfect because I’m growing.

This understanding set me free to work on those areas I knew my Father wanted me to change. But it also freed me not to be discouraged when I discovered I was still hard and green and nubby sometimes!

Philippians 1:6 became and still is a security blanket for me as I grow in His likeness. “Being confident of this very thing, that He who has begun a good work in you will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ.”

I know I will never be perfect in all areas as the world defines perfection, but I also know I am perfect like my lemon tree, just the way my Father sees me. So be free, as you grow in your knowledge of His Word, as you learn more and more what God wants to say to you. Rejoice! You too are perfect, starting just where you are, at whatever age you are.

Prayer: Thank You God, I don’t have to go all through my life thinking I don’t measure up to perfection. Thank You that it is simply my desire to change and grow that You see and say, “Wow, she’s perfect!” Thank You I can always depend on Your Love and care as I’m changing and growing into Your likeness. Amen