An Out of Shape Body Tends to Stay Out of Shape
You therefore must be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect. Matthew 5:48
I’ve always struggled with being a little – sometimes a lot – overweight. It’s honestly been good for me. I want to be fit, so I’ve had to work at eating right, failing often, and I’ve needed to exercise. I now honestly enjoy working out. If I were naturally slender, I don’t know that I would exercise much. I doubt that I would have fitness goals, and I don’t know that I would try to better myself.
It’s usually in our awareness of our flaws and failures that we long for something better. If we think we’re fine where we are, we have little impetus to move. A body at rest – content with where it is – probably isn’t going anywhere. If we are to change, grow, and improve, we must be honest about our deficits and we must have goals.
In today’s passage, Jesus set the bar high. Condemning anger, lust and revenge and teaching that we must love our enemies, he summed up his commands, insisting that we must strive to be perfect like God. What? That’s impossible, Jesus.
Christ knows that we will never be perfect in this life, but he also knows that if we’re satisfied with our status quo and if we have no goals, we’ll never grow or change. This honestly, is where many of us find ourselves. We’re just fine with where we’re at spiritually. We don’t really see the need for transformation, or if we want change, we don’t want it badly enough to do much about it.
The life of the disciple though, is to be one of continual growth and change, daily abandoning the old self to pursue Christ. We won’t be perfect in this life, but that doesn’t mean we can’t do better today than we did yesterday, or last year.
Apathy and laziness are bitter enemies of transformation. If we want to grow and change, we must understand what it is Jesus wants us to strive for and we must see how desperately short we fall. This shouldn’t lead to hopelessness, but rather should motivate us to begin doing whatever it takes today, to be better than we were yesterday. We won’t be perfect in this life, but we can make continual progress towards what Christ wants us to be.