Thinking about this standard of "perfection" that the culture has set, I believe we've completely missed the mark. We force our bodies into shapes they weren't meant to hold. We smooth out our wrinkles and carve out the belly fat - willing to undergo major surgery to meet the expectations of the world around us. We throw up our food or eat nothing at all to fulfill this need to fit in - to be perfect.
1. Lacking nothing essential to the whole; complete of its nature or kind. 2. Being without defect or blemish. 3. Thoroughly skilled or talented in a certain field or area; proficient. 4. Completely suited for a particular purpose or situation. 5. a.) Completely corresponding to a description, standard, or type. b.) Accurately reproducing an original: a perfect copy of the painting. 6. Complete; thorough; utter. 7. Pure; undiluted; unmixed. 8. Excellent and delightful in all respects.
Reading that definition, it's hard to imagine that any of us could ever measure up.
But, here's the good news. Our standard of perfection is not found in this world. Because, in this life there really is no "perfect" without Jesus Christ. Instead of making us feel defeated about not measuring up, Christ came to give us victory over the barometer with which the world judges us.
It is only in Him that we find true perfection and beauty. This is what His Word says about Him:
"He is the Rock, His works are perfect, and all His ways are just. A faithful God who does no wrong, upright and just is He." ~ Deuteronomy 32:4
"The law of the LORD is perfect, reviving the soul. The statutes of the LORD are trustworthy, making wise the simple." ~ Psalm 19:7
"As for God, His way is perfect; the word of the LORD is flawless. He is a shield for all who take refuge in Him." ~ 2 Samuel 22:31
The absolute miracle is that God, in His perfection, chose to reconcile His imperfect children to Himself through the blood of His only Son. And, through the blood that flows in us once we believe and accept His grace towards us, we can be made perfect.
Not in the world's eyes. In the eyes of the One Who made us. In the only eyes that really matter. Covered by His mercy, this is what He says of us:
"It is God who arms me with strength and makes my way perfect." ~ 2 Samuel 22:33This perfection is not forced upon us in the way that the Auto-Tune software forces voices into perfect pitch. It is a gift. A free gift, given to us by the Giver of Life. Once we have accepted His grace, His Holy Spirit comes to help us. He does not coerce us to live a perfect life. He does not manhandle us until we obey. But, if we choose to listen, He will gently guide our lives into auto-tune with Him.
"Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance. And let endurance have its perfect result, so that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing." ~ James 1:2-4
"Day after day every priest stands and performs his religious duties; again and again he offers the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins. But when this priest [Jesus Christ] had offered for all time one sacrifice for sins, He sat down at the right hand of God. Since that time He waits for His enemies to be made His footstool, because by one sacrifice He has made perfect forever those who are being made holy." ~ Hebrews 10:11-14
"After you have suffered for a little while, the God of all grace, who called you to His eternal glory in Christ, will Himself perfect, confirm, strengthen and establish you." ~ 1 Peter 5:10
"Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect." ~ Matthew 5:48
"The Holy Spirit also testifies to us about this. First He says: 'This is the covenant I will make with them after that time, says the LORD. I will put my laws in their hearts, and I will write them on their minds.' Then He adds: 'Their sins and lawless acts I will remember no more.” And where these have been forgiven, there is no longer any sacrifice for sin.'" ~ Hebrews 10:15-18Christ's blood gives us the ability to stand unblemished before a Holy God.
His Spirit gives us the power to live a perfect life in a fallen world.
You don't have to live your life based on the expectations of this rotten, sin-filled world. You don't have to measure up. Christ has died to set you free from seeing yourself as the world sees you. He wants you to see yourself as He sees you: Perfect. Beautiful.