The definition of perfection is the condition, state, or quality of being free or as free as possible from all flaws or defects, the act of making something that can’t be improved. I think we would all like to obtain a level of perfection in something, whether in our work, or sports, in our attitude or in our relationships. The problem is we are flawed. And while we may be highly successful in one of those areas, we are not God, so perfection is an unattainable goal.
Another definition of perfection in the dictionary is “the act or process of perfecting.”
It doesn’t say perfect or a deadline to be perfect. It is a process. As Christians we should be striving to be perfect knowing we will never get there. But that’s not the point. What is more important is that we are making progress. It is easy to shy away from doing things rather than be average or even poor at doing them. What Paul is telling us in Philippians 3 is that we need to get out there and get started on furthering God’s kingdom even though we may will fall short occasionally on the way. Progress is the goal and progress can be slow incremental steps. When we try too hard to be perfect, to get it right, we usually get it wrong. We sometimes try too hard to get it right rather than simply trusting God to guide us along the way.
So just keep moving forward, baby steps or long strides. Keep improving and keep progressing. That is what God wants. God wants our best but he knows it is flawed. If you are ever going to become the person you know you can be, you must learn to accept the fact that failure will be an ever-present part of the process. But even failure often leads to progress.
The Holy Spirit also enables us to commit to the process of moving toward a destination. Running has taught me that when you focus on the progression, the great majority of the time you reach your destination. Many people love getting to the destination, but few do the hard work of progressing toward the end goal. And believe me there have been times when I have stumbled and bumbled my way a few blocks more than the last time. Still, it is progress.
So as you begin this new week, focus on progress and on the things you need to work on to get better. If you encounter setbacks and failures along the way, don’t be discouraged, but take comfort in knowing that what you are experiencing isn’t a bad sign, but simply part of the process.
1. Can we become perfect in this world? If it’s not possible, what was Paul shooting for?
2. How does Philippians 1:6, “that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus” give you confidence to continue making progress?
3. Do you think making progress is better than not performing or even trying?
4. Philippians 3:14 says “I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.” How would your life look different if you pressed toward the call of God in Christ Jesus?
5. Set aside time this week to sit down with your Bible with no distractions. Evaluate your spiritual progress. Make/keep your plan simple. Track your progress. Keep your eyes on the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.