When we plan services in our church, complete with worship, announcements, video, sermon and all the transitions between the different points in the service; we have a perfect picture of how we want the service to look and how we want it to come off to people. And in forty years of conducting thousands of services in the ministry, we have never even once pulled off a service perfectly in the way we originally planned it. Not once. Either we will leave out a tag on a song, or we will forget to take the offering, or pray, or leave out an announcement, or the video will freeze, or the sound will squeal, or something; usually several things. I don’t remember a single service where we went away saying, “Everything was perfect.”
We have a friend in California who runs a manufacturing company where they make metal and aluminum parts for aerospace. They are known for making some of the highest precision parts in the industry and my friend prides himself in excellence.
Then the government got involved by upping their requirements. They said, “If you want to continue to secure government contracts, your specifications have to be even better. My friend didn’t think they could get any better. But he spent thousands of dollars on new more precise machines and a quality control manager, and now they are landing a lot of new contracts because their machine work has improved even more.
However, my friend told me recently, “Our parts are more precise than most everyone’s in the business. But if the truth were known, they still aren’t perfect. You see every part is off ever so slightly, simply because the thickness of the measurement lines alone, take up space and diminish the precision.
Do you know why it is this way? Because humans can’t be perfect, and the things they make can’t be perfect. We fall short. We actually fall short in every walk of life; in mathematics, in education, in sports, in business, in entertainment, in technology.
My son got a smart phone a while back. About three smart phones later, because none of them worked right, I heard him say as he thumped it with his finger, “What’s the matter with this stupid thing?” Even our smart phones are stupid.
We also fall short in righteousness. And yet Jesus said in Matthew 5:48, “Be perfect even as your Father in heaven is perfect.” How do we do that?
Imagine that our moral lives are represented by a continuum numbering from one to ten, ten being perfect. We all know “ten” is a pipedream for us humans. “One” might be possible for us. But if God wants us to be perfect, what are we to do?
Well, God has a made a deal with us. Romans 3:22 says, “We are the righteousness of God in Christ.” So, if we trust Christ as Savior, His righteousness spans our continuum and makes up the difference between our imperfection and God’s perfect standard. If we have been Christians longer and perhaps have risen to a two on our continuum, Jesus righteousness covers the remaining eight points between us and God’s perfect standard. Jesus is our buffer regardless of how far we fall short.
How do we be perfect? We trust Christ and allow His Spirit to guide us as we attempt to be the best people we can be. And where we falter, Jesus has us covered.