The call is clear: “Be perfect as your Father in heaven in perfect.” (Matt. 5:48)
That isn’t an impossible command. That isn’t something given by Jesus for the “sweet by and by.” It is an expectation given to us as we also receive all power to get it done.
Jesus leaves us with HUGE challenges in Matthew 5.
Your righteousness has to surpass the superior-looking stuff of the Pharisees (v. 20).
Your life is to be lived in perfection as your heavenly Father is perfect (v. 48).
First of all, don’t think “perfection.” Think “wholeness” or “maturity.”
Second, realize that all great pursuits in life come with discipline.
For some reason, we want to dismiss “discipline” in the Christian life when we know that just doesn’t work for any other phase of our lives.
It takes discipline to reach financial goals and a healthy retirement.
It takes discipline for any athlete to compete successfully in the upcoming Winter Olympics. Not one athlete showing up at Socchi will be there because of “dumb luck” or they decided to pick up some sport this week, thinking they would make the team by next February.
It takes discipline to lead a great company, to lead a solid family… you get the picture.
But when it comes to Christianity, mention that word “discipline” and you get all kinds of looks and comments.
“What is this? Some works righteousness kind of voodoo?”
“What are you? Pelagian?”
To echo the great words of Dallas Willard: “Grace isn’t opposed to effort. It’s opposed to earning.”
So… get over it.
We are meant to SOAR. We are meant to hear the voice of the Spirit and obey. All is ours.
Yet, we sit with so little power and we are buried in worry and bondage.
It’s not the Kingdom of God that’s at fault. It’s us.
We’re sitting on our lazy backsides on our spiritual couches refusing to hit the spiritual gym.
Jesus leaves us in Matthew 5 with this command: “Get to perfection!”
But he doesn’t leave it there.
He then talks about the HOW.
“Hit the gym!”
It’s called spiritual discipline. When we discipline our bodies and our spirits toward the things of God, we find more freedom to walk in radical obedience.
The call of the Kingdom is to rise up to the call. It’s possible.
Hit the gym.