I believe a person is perfect (complete) when that individual “allows perseverance to finish its work, so that he or she may be mature and complete, not lacking anything” (James 1:4).
Perfection (or completion) is a process. It is not a static state. Accordingly, Jesus says “I have given them the glory that you gave me, that they may be one as we are one—I in them and you in me—so that they may be brought to complete unity” (John 17:22-23). Jesus emphasizes that perfection is a relationship with the Heavenly Father. It is not an unmoving condition.
Perfection as attainment
Now, it appears that Jesus states that perfection results from his gift of glory. Consequently, if one has God’s glory, that person is perfect, or so it seems. But should we seek God’s glory for perfection? Is perfection like a trophy? Is it the end-goal of our journey?
The world follows Aristotle’s description of perfection (Aristotle Nicomachean Ethics 1.7). It calculates perfection as attainment. Likewise, it thinks perfection fulfils a preset mould. For instance, think of perfection as a full bowl of water and an individual as water. To be perfect, according to the world, a person must fill and conform to the bowl. If the person fills the “bowl” halfway, they are half-perfect. If the person is outside the bowl, the person is not perfect. Thus, the static state that looks most like a full bowl of water is, to the world, the most perfect.
Also, the world attempts perfection through 12 steps. Once a person completes these steps, they’re closer to perfection.
Perfection as worldly success
Nonetheless, perfection, here, is synonymous with worldly success. How the world equates worldly success and perfection! Yet worldly success is uncertain. No one knows if he or she can achieve the success desired because such success is conditional on other people. Furthermore, we must ask, “Who creates each idea of worldly perfection?”
For example, being homeless doesn’t look like success to most. However, some homeless people are successful spiritually, mentally, and physically.
The world says, “If I can get A, B, and C, I will be perfect.” “Eliminating my mistakes,” the world continues, “helps me to get perfection.” The problem with the world’s version of perfection is this: the world defines perfection as a static and attainable condition of worldly success. It ignores the relationship with Jesus Christ, which is perfection.
A perfect idea
It is higher to think perfection is this: a moving, unachievable, and unconditional act of love and grace for eternal life. This definition is unconditional and free of human contamination—although Jesus, a human, became contaminated for us (2 Corinthians 5:21). Nonetheless, this higher definition stresses that perfection is impossible for humans to attain—although Jesus, through God, did the impossible for us (Mark 10:27). Ultimately, this definition states people cannot attain perfection, but one must receive it (Ephesians 2:8-9).
The world thinks it can get everything. Yet the Christian knows that all “getting” is vanity (Ecclesiastes 2:11). The only thing Christians want to attain is something they cannot “get.” Christians’ idea of success is not on a shelf for sale or in a trendy lifestyle magazine. No. Christians’ idea of success is the free and invisible gift from Jesus Christ—eternal life (Romans 6:23).
Perfection in Scripture
So we read that we can follow all of God’s commandments, but can lack this: to “sell our possessions and give to the poor, and follow Jesus” (Matthew 19:20-21). Perfection renounces life and is a Jesus-led journey. Scripture also says that God gives us “great and precious promises” that make us perfect in this life (2 Peter 1:1-9). We cannot achieve perfection by our efforts. God must give us perfection, and he did when he gave us Jesus Christ (2 Corinthians 5:21, Isaiah 53:9, Hebrews 7:26).
The Bible also says that the perfect person does not think he or she has the power and resurrection of Jesus Christ but “presses on to take hold of the gifts Jesus Christ offers” (Philippians 3:12-15). Perfection is a journey towards God’s gifts. You don’t have to be perfect according to the world but to the Word. We also read that Jesus’s blood-promise “equips us with everything good so we may do his will” (Hebrews 13:20-21). Accordingly, the road to perfection is a trail of Jesus’s blood. If you wonder which way is perfection, follow the road with the drops of Jesus’s blood.
How to be perfect
The Christian knows that the Potter (God) shapes them into perfection (Romans 9:22-29). The Christian says, “Although others may not see my perfection, I have an advance of perfection and glory. I’m paid in advance. I don’t need a check to prove it. I have the pay stub of Jesus’s blood.” A Christian is already perfect. A believer of Jesus Christ knows perfection comes from steps, but not a 12-step plan. Perfection comes from one’s stepping like Jesus. The Christian remarks that “My perfection comes from my walking like Jesus, but he (Jesus) is still walking.”
Therefore, the Christian is sure that perfection is under God’s definition, not humans’ definition. “Only God can promise perfection because, unlike humans,” the Christian says, “he controls everything.” One should see perfection as their following Jesus Christ. When one sees perfection in this manner, that person will not attempt to chase for uncertain and static worldly success but a growing relationship with Jesus Christ. Therefore, perfection is Jesus.