Matthew 5:43-48 says, (and this is Jesus speaking) “Your ancestors have also been taught ‘Love your neighbors and hate the one who hates you.’ However, I say to you, love your enemy, bless the one who curses you, do something wonderful for the one who hates you, and respond to the very ones who persecute you by praying for them. For that will reveal your identity as children of your heavenly Father. He is kind to all by bringing the sunrise to warm and rainfall to refresh whether a person does what is good or evil. What reward do you deserve if you only love the loveable? Don’t even the tax collectors do that? How are you any different from others if you limit your kindness only to your friends? Don’t even the ungodly do that? Since you are children of a perfect Father in heaven, become perfect like him.”
When the Bible asks us to be perfect in Matthew 5:48, the Greek/Aramaic word used for the second perfect in the verse also means according to the Passion Translation, whole, complete, fully mature, lacking nothing, all inclusive, well rounded, spiritually mature. How do we become whole, complete, fully mature, lacking nothing, all inclusive, well rounded or spiritually mature? By imitating God. The verses above are talking about our identity in God. For us to be perfect, we need to imitate the perfect God.
Being spiritually mature means our lives are reflective of the good and perfect Father. We want to be more like Jesus. John 5:19 says, “So Jesus said, “I speak to you eternal truth. The Son is unable to do anything from himself or through his own initiative. I only do the works that I see the Father doing, for the Son does the same works as his Father.” This is what Matthew 5:48 is asking of us; to be imitators of Jesus. If we want to know what God would do about any situation, we have the Scriptures and the Holy Spirit who lives within us bearing witness in our spirit.
Being more like Jesus starts with a conscious decision to be an imitator of Jesus. That means we take time to pray things through like Jesus did and ask God what we need to say or do. How should we respond to this situation? How should we address this issue? Sometimes you won’t have the time to go away and pray things through but just saying, “Jesus I need your help in this situation.” Can be enough to equip you to deal with the situation. For us to know what God wants us to do in any situation, we need to invite Him in. Prayer is our direct line to God and it does not need to be complicated. Prayer is after all a dialogue. You speak to God and God speaks to you.
When unsure what to do, always be led by the peace of God. We need to let the peace of God be an umpire in our hearts, Colossians 3:15. What does this mean? My pastors preached this last year in a series called Red light, Green light. In life as we learn to hear from God we experience green, yellow and red lights. Green lights mean go for it. Yellow lights mean proceed with caution. Red lights mean stop and wait for further instructions.
There are times when you pray, and you feel this excitement in your spirit. Sometimes your soul could be terrified but deep inside you know this is the right thing to do. Red light, green light. If you need help with your decision making, I invite you to go listen to that series on Maximize Church podcast.
Colossians 3:15-17 says, “Let the peace of Christ keep you in tune with each other, in step with each other. None of this going off and doing your own thing. And cultivate thankfulness. Let the Word of Christ—the Message—have the run of the house. Give it plenty of room in your lives. Instruct and direct one another using good common sense. And sing, sing your hearts out to God! Let every detail in your lives—words, actions, whatever—be done in the name of the Master, Jesus, thanking God the Father every step of the way.”
The above verses teach us that to be able to imitate Jesus, in order for us to become biblically perfect we cannot do this on our own. We need to be in a community with other believers, that is the church. No one person has the full picture. But when we come together, we can help each other out in areas where we are not strong. Some people are fighters and will fight anyone or anything anywhere, some people are passive and will run from every fight. Being well rounded means finding balance between the two extremes. We become more balanced as we interact with other believers.
God is not extreme in any direction. He is well balanced. So for us to become perfect like our perfect Father, we need to become spiritually mature, whole and well rounded. This is why we need God. We cannot do this on our own but with God, nothing is impossible.
Love and blessings,
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