Most every morning as soon as I wake up I say something like “Good morning, Lord. Please lead me through this day, and may Your will be done.” Usually my mind doesn’t work beyond just a few words until I’ve had my customary cup of coffee. Then usually, after I’ve become more coherent, I’ll sit down with Him and have a heart-to-heart. Throughout the day I think about God often, I think about the sacrifice Jesus made for my sorry self, I think about His commandment to “love one another as I love you,” and I sometimes even ask myself “What would Jesus do?” In the evening when I take our little blue healer Birdie out for a walk I’ll spend as much time as I can in prayer, usually in gratitude for His Grace and Mercy, repenting of my sins and follies of the day, and asking Him to bless and sanctify not only the people in my life, but all of His children.

These moments within the day are just that: moments in a constant stream of nows in which I navigate the affairs of my life. I certainly haven’t reached the point in my spiritual growth where I can say I follow Paul’s admonition to “pray without ceasing” (I Thessalonians 5:17), although I think I might be able to do this once in awhile if out in nature and without any distraction. Still, my mind is usually like a crack-addicted monkey in a cage, and all I can do is either wrestle it into disciplined submission, or pray around it. Until I learn the art of simplicity I’m afraid I’ll be wrestling with my overly-large and very loud thoughts for some time to come.

But that’s not my biggest challenge, not by a longs shot. In Matthew 5:48 Jesus told His disciples “Be perfect, therefore, as your Heavenly Father is perfect.” Wow. Talk about having to fill His shoes! Well, as impossible as that sounds, I have to give it my best shot every day. It doesn’t do any good to doubt God or one of His angels. Look what happened to Zechariah, John the Baptist’s father. When Gabriel told him that his wife Elisabeth would bear a son (who as it turns out was John the Baptist) he basically told the angel it was impossible because they were too old to have children. In response, God politely yet firmly struck Zechariah speechless until the miracle of John’s birth came to be. So I may be skeptical, but I’m certainly not going to question God’s word.  Perfect!  I say again, wow!

Sometimes on TV I’ll see an ad telling me that I could be a millionaire in just thirty days. This I can scoff at, because if the claim was true, there would be more millionaires than poor people. Oh, but if I read the fine print I’ll discover that I basically have to join a pyramid scheme and invest a boatload of money. That’s the way it is with Earthly promises of success, always strings attached. Well, when Jesus said “Be perfect, therefore, as your Heavenly Father is perfect,” He didn’t have any ponzi schemes in the background. Who am I to think that Christ would command us to be something that was impossible? Unless I’m wrong, Jesus set the bar for perfect in this sin-filled world. It can be done, plain and simple. But I think that perfection is all about the journey, the experience of striving for perfection. Listen, I don’t know if I could ever pull off a perfect day, let alone a perfect life, but I know the way is in God’s word, it is in giving love without asking anything in return, it is in having a prayerful heart, it is in having faith and believing in Christ, and it is in being open to God’s will.

I’ll be honest with you. A few weeks back I had THE perfect day. I’m serious. Everything fell into place, I prayed without ceasing, I listened and watched for signs of God’s will, I exuded an air and attitude of agape love, I had, in essence, a perfect day. Well, until that evening when I reflected upon the day and blew it with pride. I think the next time I work on a perfect day I’ll make sure to leave my pride at the door. For now let’s just say I’m a work in progress, and that practice indeed does make perfect. May you also strive earnestly for perfection.

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