the words "nobody's perfect" in a talking bubble

“Nobody’s Perfect”

If I had a dollar for every time I’ve heard someone in my life — and more specifically my counseling practice — say to me, “nobody’s perfect,” I would be a millionaire. I believe that this one seemingly inocuous statement has been a weapon in the hand of Satan from the beginning. He uses it to wreak havoc on the lives, marriages, and families of a majority of people — Christian and non-Christian alike.

Dictionary definition

Merriam-Webster’s Dictionary defines “perfect” in this way:

  • being entirely without fault or defect
  • satisfying all requirements
  • corresponding to an ideal standard or abstract concept

This definition is a very accurate picture of the way I viewed perfect in my own life for a long time. I was striving to be without fault, satisfy all the requirements, and live up to an ideal standard I had for myself.

None of that is a very good idea, though. It leaves one living in a constant cycle of trying hard to be enough.

Satan has a hand in our pursuit of perfection

Robert McGee in his best-selling book entitled, “The Search For Significance,” offers what he refers to as “Satan’s Formula.”

MY PERFORMANCE (what I do and how I do it)
(how others perceive what I do)
(how I feel about myself and my worth & value

If I were to summarize what McGee is saying here is how we as humans find our identity, worth, and value in how others perceive us. Suffice it to say, if a person never wants to feel a loss of worth, their entire life will be a pursuit of an arbitrary, self-imposed standard of “perfection.” As long as they never have any imperfections (at least that others can see), then their worth will never be threatened.

Horizontal, not vertical

The fallen nature of man follows a narrative that is in direct opposition to the teachings of God. We live in an upside down world. And at a young age, we begin to get pulled into believing that’s all that life has to offer. Striving. Self-condemnation. Perfectionism.Comparison. Rejection. Control. Fear. I could go on and on with this list.

The “right-side-up” way that God created and intended from the beginning of time was not constructed on a vertical, dichotomous performance standard (i.e. black|white, right|wrong, good|bad, win|lose, etc.). No, God’s right-side-up plan for our life on this earth was and is not defined by any form of performance or consequences. For those who have placed their faith in Jesus Christ, God’s love is without condition. No punishment for poor performance. No expectations of perfection. No comparing to others. No competition for His acceptance. Just unconditional, undeserved, unending, unfathomable love.

Mature, complete, lacking nothing

The meaning of perfection in the Bible relates to a state of completeness or absolute wholeness. Biblical perfection involves freedom from fault, defect, or shortcoming. In the New Testament, a Greek term for “perfection” can also mean “maturity.” The Bible expresses perfection in at least three different contexts: the perfection of God, the perfection of Christ, and the perfection of humans.

 “Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.”

James 1:2-4

God’s definition of “perfect”

What is God’s definition of “perfect?” Whenever the meaning of the word perfect is discussed, one of the most frequent verses to arise is Matthew 5:48. Here, Jesus is talking and He says this:

“Therefore you shall be perfect, just as your Father in heaven is perfect.

Matthew 5:48

This verse has often been misunderstood to mean that God requires us to live a sinless, perfect life. This feels defeating since we know we can’t be sinless. Many have questioned why Jesus would ask us to be perfect when He knows it’s not possible for us.

If we lay aside the Webster’s definition that I previously shared, and take a deeper look at the word of God, we will have a much clearer understanding of what “perfect” really means. According to Strong’s Concordance, the English word perfect is an translation of the Greek word “teleios.”

Definition of telios

  • complete in all its parts
  • full grown
  • of full age
  • completeness of Christian character.
  • in it’s intended function

What if being perfect really means being complete, full grown, and in my intended place? What if Jesus was not asking for sinless perfection after all?

In Matthew 5:48, Jesus is asking that we be complete, that we imitate our heavenly Father, that we be ever moving and growing and doing our best to become more and more like Him. What He is asking for is maturity.

Contact us today

Contact us today to get scheduled or to learn more about Christian counseling at Life Training.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *