“And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.”
There is a ton of pressure on Christians in the culture to be perfect. It’s crazy. I mean if we were perfect then we wouldn’t need to be Christians. Christianity is about accepting love in the absence of perfection. But the accusation of hypocrite is thrown out at the slightest revealing of any problems. This doesn’t mean that we continue in our sin without repentance. No we should focus on serving Christ as our Lord. We surrender to him and his perfect authority. A perfect Christian is not one that never makes mistakes but one who is perfectly surrendered.
In a hostile environment
In a world where you can be burned to death or have your head chopped off and a video of it posted on the internet it can be a challenge to be vulnerable and admit our fragility. We want to band together and go fight the persecutors. We want to present Christianity as superior (which it is) to other religions and cults. In doing so however we tend to want to present ourselves as superior too. Our King is an odd king he is odd because he is all powerful but loves to use small weak humble armies that are completely dependent on him. (see the story of Gideon in Judges 6).
In a skeptical environment
The college campuses are full of aggressive atheist proselytes and experienced callused professors all of which preach a doctrine of strict condescension to Christianity. Materialism and rationalism are the standard frontal positions but when challenged post-modern relativism is the retreatable safe ground. Skepticism is the common language at university and to try and have a discussion with optimistic hope is heard as naive baby talk.
We do it to ourselves
Even in an environment where Christianity is the accepted norm like it is here in Texas. We place these perfect expectations on ourselves. We tend to want to present ourselves as perfect to others and we are never happy with our appearance, our walk, our finances. We desire to be better than everyone else while never appearing to think we are better than anyone else. That is the trap of this perfect lie.
The freedom from this is truth. We are perfect in Christ. The only thing we can do perfectly is surrender to the only perfect one. Then he will use our flaws and weakness and problems and imperfections to his perfection.
“My grace is sufficient for thee:for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses for Christ’s sake:for when I am weak, then am I strong.”
Our identity comes from our adoption into Christ’s kingdom and our citizenship he gives us with his blood and not what others think of us. This is why ‘forgiveness’ is such a crucial principle to the christian life. Our King spent quite a bit of time making sure we understood forgiveness. Let’s forgive ourselves for not being perfect and rest in the perfection of our Lord.