There’s an interesting tension in the Christian walk. It is the pursuit of perfection, yet it’s not about being the perfect Christian. Consider the following verses:
Therefore you shall be perfect, just as your Father in heaven is perfect. —Matthew 5:48
for though a righteous man falls seven times, he rises again, but the wicked are brought down by calamity. —Proverbs 24:16
Getting a saving relationship with Jesus is not about coming to Him when you’ve got it all figured out. It’s about coming to Him when you don’t! Actually, it’s just coming to Him! And, importantly, He doesn’t give up on you. That’s true both when you’ve given up on Him, or even when you’ve given up on yourself.
When you fall, He feels bad. Real bad. What God knows is the true nastiness of sin. He knows you’ve just hurt yourself, and others, and definitely Him. Yet you’re not cast away. In fact, the deeper you’re in trouble, He has a deeper sense of compassion for you. He can reach that far.
So, because messing up is so bad, the Lord has given us a clear target, “be perfect.” To what level? “…just as your Father in heaven is perfect.” Amazing! Talk about a target that appears unreachable. Yet, with clarity, Jesus gave us the goal to be reached.
So, with the goal set high and our behavior quite low, we must come to terms with the tension. It is thus that we see salvation as a process, gaining ground, making better decisions today than yesterday—we see salvation as a process of getting to know Jesus.
Not that we won’t make a mitsake along the way, but the real key is aiming high and getting back up. Righteous men mess up, but they get back up—they ask for forgiveness, from God and sometimes from others—and get back up. Like the little child who is relentlessly pursuing the art of walking, the goal is high, the key is not quitting—getting back up again.