The Search for Perfection

As the plate of chocolate chip cookies comes my way, I begin searching for the perfect one. It has to be perfectly shaped with just the right amount of chocolate chips. I pass over the cookies that don’t meet my standards. I quickly grab the one, hoping no one noticed I didn’t take the cookie closest to me. I didn’t root around too much – didn’t want to be obvious.

Our eyes don’t like imperfection. We can spot and reject imperfections subconsciously, in anything or anyone. We won’t buy clothing if it has stains or tears. We reject fruit with bruises and cans with dents. We often pass up people who look ragged or dirty, even though as Christians we are admonished to see all as equal and valued.

Our eyes like perfection. We seek out the beautiful, symmetrical and pleasing. We even call ourselves perfectionists when we want everything to be just right and won’t settle for less than perfect. This is often no more than a mask for pride.

Nothing is perfect, however, and searching for perfection can become not only an exercise in futility but also idol worship. It can become an obsession and lead to frustration, heartache and even death. How many women have gone in search of the perfect body through plastic surgery with less than desirable and even horrible results?

Perfection isn’t attainable in this world, but if we are aware, we can see bits of perfection every day. I experience it in my first cup of tea every morning, in the flowers blooming in my yard and in the smiles of those I love. But these little bits of perfection disappear so quickly I’m reminded of how our lives are like a mist (James 4:14) or like the wild flowers that bloom for one day and are gone (Luke 12:28).

I believe the longing for perfection and beauty, just as the longing for eternity, was put in our hearts by God. Ecclesiastes 3:11 (NIV) says: “He has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the human heart; yet no one can fathom what God has done from beginning to end.” This desire can be satisfied only by him, as he is the only one who is perfection and beauty, and eternity is in him.

How do we let God satisfy this longing? He gave us Jesus, who is the exact representation of himself. Jesus shows us the way to the Father. Living in Christ, having our being and purpose wrapped up in his being and purpose and sharing in the relationship he enjoys with the Father, brings us as close to his perfection as we can get in this life.

God is perfect (Matthew 5:48) and everything about him is perfect: his way (Psalm 18:30), his works (Deuteronomy 32:4), his knowledge (Job 37:16), his law (Psalm 19:7), his peace (Isaiah 26:3) and his will (Romans 12:2). Jesus is also perfect (Hebrews 2:10, 5:9 and 7:28) and through him we can share in his perfection (Hebrews 10:14, 11:40 and 12:23).

It’s no use looking for perfection in this fallen world, but looking to God’s perfection will always give us joy and satisfy our hungry hearts.

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