If you've been keeping up, you know that Sunday is SUPER Sunday…as in the SUPER Bowl. Yes, billions of people watching kazillion dollar commercials, neat-o halftime shows, amazing interviews, and…what am I forgetting? Oh yes, there will also be a FOOTBALL game.
At least I think it will be a game. There's a little team called the Patriots who are poised to run the table of perfection and enter the sports history books as the only other undefeated pro football team.
Some say they cheated, others believe that they are simply flat out lucky, and still many more feel that the Patriots are the best team to ever step on the gridiron.
I say that no matter how you feel about the Patriots, the real question is this:
With the amount of cash that Coach Belichick is raking in, why does he continue to dress like a homeless guy?
But there's a bigger picture here that I believe ties into a very important concept in the Christian life. The Patriots are trying for something that many folks have given up on. The word is perfection. As in perfect, faultless, and spotless. For the Pats, perfection is an undefeated season…19 wins, and 0 losses. Very few believed it could happen at the beginning of the year, now most are convinced that it's going to happen.
Did you know that Jesus demands perfection from His followers? Yep, it's true, and it's one of those commands that get swept into the "really? I didn't know that was in the Bible!" category.
Here's what He said:
Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect. (Matthew 5:48)
But wait a minute Jesus…haven't you ever heard the phrase "nobody's perfect?
Actually, since He's God, I imagine He has heard that before. In fact, He knew He was giving the command to be perfect to very imperfect people. So how does He expect people to achieve the impossible? Maybe this will help:
For by that one offering he forever made perfect those who are being made holy. (Hebrews 10:14)
Did you pick up on the concept here? It goes something like this-
Jesus died on the Cross for our sins - that's the 'one offering' part.
When we trust Him as Savior, we are 'forever made perfect.' How? Because at the moment of salvation, God no longer sees you as sinful and imperfect. He sees you through the 'filter' of forgiveness - in other words spotless and blameless. He also sees you, not as you are, but what you will be when you enter heaven - which is perfect.
But wait - the last part of the verse also applies to us- because it says that even though we've been made perfect, we are still 'being made holy.'
Huh? Why do we have to still be 'made holy' when God already sees us as perfect? The answer is actually not that confusing. See, God is already in the future, so He sees the finished product of perfection that we'll one day be. Yet, we are still going through time, dealing with our sin and trying to become more like Christ. To illustrate, let's say you found a time machine at the beginning of this football season. So you fast forward to the day after the Super Bowl, and you discover the Patriots win. Then you go back and tell Tom Brady's bunch that they will be perfect. Do you think they'll slack off and play a lazy season? No way. Because they know they will reach perfection, they try even harder.
Same with us. Knowing we'll one day be perfect should motivate us to fight our hardest through the power of the Holy Spirit to conquer sin and all the imperfections of our life. That's why Jesus commanded us to 'be perfect' - because He knew in the future we'll reach that point, so we better get busy along the way.
So, my prayer for you is this…don't have a nice day…have a PERFECT day!
Head: God sees us as perfect in the future, which is why we should strive for perfection each day in the present.
Heart: Feel confident that perfection is something you really can go for each and every day. Through the power of the Holy Spirit, you can resist every temptation that comes your way. Will you? Nope, not while you still have a sinful nature. But knowing that the ultimate war is won should motivate you to fight the battles even harder!
Hands: Each time temptation comes your way, remind yourself that God sees you as perfect, so you do not have to give in.
Lane Palmer is the Youth Ministries Specialist for Dare 2 Share Ministries in Arvada, Colo., where he works with to provide resources for youth leaders and students. Dare 2 Share exists to energize and equip teens to know, live, share and own their faith in Jesus. For more information on Dare 2 Share Ministries or the GameDay youth conference tour, please visit www.dare2share.org. Send feedback to firstname.lastname@example.org.