The Abundant Life: Riches money can’t buy…

The abundant life strives for progress, not perfection.

Those who struggle with perfection know too well the feeling of never really being good enough. Instead of focusing on the progress made, they focus on their lack of perfection. Instead of looking at how far they’ve come, they lament about how far they need to go to achieve perfection. It can be very discouraging.  

In psychological terms, perfectionism is the belief that perfection can and should be attained. Those who believe this are destined for problems and frustration because anything less than perfect is unacceptable in their eyes. A person’s self-worth is determined by flawlessness. Perfectionists set rigid standards of performance for themselves and sometimes for others. This can lead to being critical and always finding fault. Perfectionists never feel they “measure up” and neither does anyone else.

One of my favorite movie lines comes from Mary Poppins when she humorously replies, “We practically perfect people never make mistakes.” Poppins, like most everyone else, links perfection to lack of mistakes. Christians cannot afford to make this error.  

For example, Matthew 5:48 says, “Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect.” However, the word “perfect” in this scripture is the Greek word “telios” which means finished, full grown, mature, lacking nothing, or brought to completeness. It has nothing to do with making mistakes or not being good enough.

People commonly think that all perfection is about physical actions such as being good, successful, or sinless. When God speaks of perfection, He wants us to “be complete” by being spiritually one with His Son Jesus Christ. This perfection is not designed to make us look good or perform flawlessly, but to let Christ’s life be manifest through us. Physical perfection is more concerned about actions we perform to a certain level, whereas spiritual perfection is about becoming totally dependent on God, letting Him work through us to perform His will—not ours. It is not concerned about “self.”   

The good news is that we are already perfect in God’s sight. We are reconciled through Jesus Christ and He lives in us. This comes not from our false concepts of trying to attain perfection or being good enough. It is a gift given freely to us. With Christ in us, we are brought to completion and we lack nothing.

Will we make mistakes? Sure! But remember, the perfection spoken of in this scripture is not about what we do; it’s about what Christ does. His life in us makes us perfect.

Those living the abundant life work for progress, not perfection. They know that only God is perfect.


…I have come that they may have life and that they

may have it more abundantly.” ~John 10:10 (KJV)

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