Summary: Excellence is found in Christ Jesus for every dimension of our personal life, relationship and activities.
How Jesus Directed His People Toward Excellence Matt 5:48
Illustration:Serious critics sometimes argue that the standards in art are always relative, but all artistic masterpieces give them the lie.
John Gardner in The Art of Fiction: Notes of Craft for Young Writers.
The only thing most people do better than anyone else is read their own handwriting.
1. Jesus knew that excellence could only be measured in terms of the heavenly Father. The Lord Jesus did not make the mistake of letting His standards be measured relative to his cultural context.
Instead, Jesus said, "Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect." (Matt. 5:48)
Ask the Lord to help you point your disciples more toward God’s standards than human beings.
Illustration:Edwin Bliss once said, "The pursuit of excellence is gratifying and healthy. The pursuit of perfection is frustrating, neurotic, and a terrible waste of time."
Tim Hansel, Eating Problems for Breakfast, Word Publishing, 1988, p. 39.
2. Jesus knew that excellence is measured by the heavenly Father’s holiness. The Lord knew that Peter would write, "But just as He who called you is holy, so be holy in all you do; for it is written, "Be holy, because I am holy." (I Pet. 1:15)
Ask the Lord for a greater holiness in your mind, will, and emotional reactions to problems. Only the power of the Holy Spirit is able to create in us a holy perspective toward all aspects of life and ministry.
3. Jesus knew that we help complete God’s love in us when we obey His word. (I John 2:5) Perfection is not obtained through an intellectual mastery of the Bible, but a character transformation through the power of the Holy Spirit. If a person really wants to point people toward a perfect lifestyle let them walk as Jesus did. Never has the perfect will of God been carried out as it was in the life, teaching and ministry of Jesus Christ.
Ask the Lord to help you to point others to Christ’s lifestyle in all dimensions of life through your example.
4. Jesus knew that we gradually transform our lifestyles when we allow God’s word to change our cognitive, affective, behavioral and spiritual parts of our being.
Ask the Lord to help you pursue a holistic strategy to becoming more like Christ instead of working only on your favorite areas of development. By resisting the temptation to conform to the world and continually renewing our mind’s perspectives we will give evidence to how God’s will in us is not only good and pleasing, but is the perfect will of God. (Rom. 12:1,2)
5. Jesus knew that perfection is only made complete in our yielding to Him all of our weaknesses. Jesus told Paul, "MY grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness." (2 Cor. 12:9) Thank God for the way He has made you. Allow the Lord to use your weaknesses to complete His perfecting work in you rather than complaining about them. It was for this very reason that Paul said, "For Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong." (2 Cor. 12:10)
Ask the Lord to help you delight in whatever God gives you, knowing His ways are perfect and all His ways are peace.
6. Jesus knew that the Lord strives to perfect in will in us. The Lord remembered what David wrote, " The Lord will perfect His purpose for me; your love, O Lord endures forever." (Psa 138:8) Resistance to the will of God will only end in frustration, bitterness and defeat. Let God have His way since our heavenly Father always knows what is best.
Ask God for the confidence to accept His perfect plans, processes and products in a way that pleases God in all respects and bears fruit in every good work while allowing you to increase in the perfect knowledge of God.
7. Jesus wants us to experience perfect peace as our thoughts are focused on God and His will. The Lord fondly remembered the words of Isaiah who wrote, "You will keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed upon you because he trusts in you." (Isa 26:3)
All other forms of peace are fleeting except that which is given to us by the Lord. Do not except any substitute for His peace.
8. Jesus knew that Job successfully was able to endure a painful path toward perfection. At the end of Job’s life he wrote, "Lord, now I know you can do all things perfectly and no purpose of yours can be thwarted." (Job 42:1,2)
The pathway to perfection may be painful, confusing and even contradictory to what others have experienced, but let God’s sovereign will lead you uniquely towards His path to perfection.