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A Perfect Life

What is a perfect life?  When I say "a perfect life,” I mean a life that is ideal.  I mean a life that is flawless.  I mean a life that is just exactly what one would want it to be.  I realize that no one has a perfect life in every sense, but I wonder if we would recognize a perfect life if we saw it.

For most people, if you asked them for their ideas of a perfect life, they would probably describe a life with no problems.  They might want to live long and have constant happiness and health.  Maybe they would want warm, trouble-free relationships with family and friends.  Maybe they would have stress-free and fulfilling careers, or maybe they wouldn’t have to have jobs at all.  They might want to have wealth with large houses and fancy cars.  Perhaps they would be famous and get the praise of the masses.  Maybe they would just like to have quiet and simple lives without any of the worries of the world.

Now let us put our concept of a perfect life into perspective by considering the life of Jesus Christ.  Did He have a perfect life?  On one level, we would have to say "no.”  He lived a very short life of only thirty-three years.  During that short life, He had problems too numerous to count.  He was a poor Son of a lowly carpenter from a despised province (Mark 6:3; John 7:52).  He did not even have a place to sleep (Matt. 8:20).  He owned virtually nothing but the clothes He wore.  He received the attention of the masses, but by the end of His life they had turned violently against Him (Matt. 27:22-25).  His own people and even His own brothers rejected Him (John 11; 7:5).  He was abandoned by His closest friends in His greatest hour of need (Matt. 26:31-35, 69-75).  He was condemned as an innocent man, brutally beaten, mocked, and executed by crucifixion, a shameful form of execution reserved for the lowest criminals (Matt. 27:26-50).  Who would characterize such a life as perfect?

However, on another level, the life of Jesus Christ was perfect.  He "committed no sin, nor was any deceit found in His mouth” (1Pet. 2:22; Isa. 53:9).  He was "tempted in all things as we are, yet without sin” (Heb. 4:15).  He spent his life in a tireless effort of teaching the will of God to others.  He glorified His Father in heaven by the things that He taught and did.   He put others before Himself, serving them in love.  "Greater love has no one than this, that one lay down his life for his friends” (John 15:13).  He willingly gave His own life as a sacrifice for others so that they might not have to suffer for their own sins.  His life was the most good and noble that could ever be.  Indeed, it was a perfect life.

The difference in these two perspectives is that one looks at the circumstances of Christ’s life and the other looks at what Christ did in those circumstances.  The circumstances in Christ’s life were not ideal, but the things that He did were.  In fact, there was nothing outside of Himself that could have prevented Jesus from being exactly what His Father wanted Him to be.  No temptation that Satan brought against Him, no sorrow that was brought upon Him, and no affliction that He suffered was enough to stop Him from living a perfect life.

We need to apply this understanding to our own lives.  Are our lives products of our circumstances, or are they products of our own choices and actions?  Many times we cannot control our circumstances, so if we view life as a product of those circumstances, then we have no control over our own lives.  This makes it easy to excuse ourselves when we fail and sin, saying, "I couldn’t help it.”  However, we can control our own choices and actions, so that no matter what situation we find ourselves in, we can be right with God.  God guaranteed that this is the case (1Cor. 10:13).

So what is a perfect life?  It is a life that is subject to God in everything regardless of circumstance.  Can we have perfect lives?  We can, but only in Christ.  We have all sinned (Rom. 3:23), but we can be forgiven and thus made perfect (complete, mature) in Jesus.  We can never control every situation so that everything is ideal, but we can make the right choices in any situation.

Stacey E. Durham



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