Jesus gives us the true standard for life. “You therefore must be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect.”
Do not lower your standard to how the world thinks. Think about how God does things. Do as Jesus does! The standard we live by is not what everyone else is saying and doing. God does not care if everyone else is doing it. You are to live differently. You are to be different. You are to be like your heavenly Father. It is only this perspective given to us that will bring us to look at God rightly and look at ourselves rightly. Do not relax God’s laws. Do not lower God’s standards.
Understanding the greatest commands should break our prideful hearts every time. Be perfect just as your heavenly Father is perfect.
How have we been doing? If there’s any place where we can see our failures clearly, it is in this final correction Jesus gives. Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you. Why is this so hard? Why is it so hard to not retaliate? We have to get rid of this lens that makes decisions on the basis on whether someone deserves it or not. We try to decide if someone deserves our love. We must get rid of this filter in our hearts that restricts us to loving only those who do for us.
Did Jesus turn the other cheek for you? Did Jesus go the extra mile for you? Did Jesus give above and beyond for you? Did Jesus only do the bare minimum for you? Did Jesus love only those who did good for him? Did Jesus love his enemies? Does God do good for all people? Does the sun rise and the rain fall on only the righteous? Stop doing good for people based on the good they have done for you. Stop loving only the people who love you in return. Stop lowering God’s standard and justifying ourselves for when we only love people who love us back.
God’s standard does two things in our heart and lives. When we are instructed, ‘to be perfect as your heavenly Father is perfect’, firstly, we see how far we are from God’s standard and how much more transformation needs to happen in our hearts and lives. We can never stop looking to Jesus and being transformed into his image. We need more refining. We need more changing. We need to know more about God so that we can be transformed. Secondly, we see how much we need the grace of God. We need to see the great gap that we have between ourselves and God, and look for God’s grace to cover the gap.
Jesus is telling us that we must be in the process of transformation. We cannot stay where we are. We need to bear fruit. Jesus said that people will know that we are his disciples because of how we love one another. Love others, not because they deserve it, but because God loves you and you do not deserve it. We see how far short we have fallen, and we give up and question our salvation. We lose our eternal hope because we see our failure. Friends, God wants us to see our failure and see this great gap so that we will run to Jesus and find mercy and grace to help in our time of need. God’s standard should put our hands and knees in prayer, thanking God for his grace which is only found in Jesus. God’s standard should make us love him all the more because we understand how much God is forgiving us and how much grace we need. We are always desiring and working for transformation. while we are always resting in the grace of God. This is the picture Jesus paints of the kingdom. We can have the blessed life if you hold up God’s standard – aim for that standard – and rest in the knowledge that you have a Saviour who will cover our failures as we seek to live for him.