Nobody’s Perfect, But Strive To Be
On March 27, 2020, police in the Czech town of Lazne Bohdanec responded to reports of a gathering of people who were violating the law. It appears that half of the 150 persons gathered were not complying with government requirements to wear face masks. The police admonished the violators that they must wear masks and maintain social distancing to prevent the spread of the Corona virus. The violators complied and no arrests were made.
What made this incident newsworthy is that, after donning their masks and complying with the law, every person in this gathering was otherwise completely naked. This was a gathering of nudists who were sunning themselves. Oh, they were “law abiding” but they were also as indecently attired as possible
This reminds me of people who believe themselves to be religious because they observe one aspect of faith – perhaps attending Mass or a worship service – but live like any other sinner the rest of the week. Can you imagine how silly such reasoning would sound? “I’m obeying the law by wearing my mask. Who cares if I’m also showing off my flabby, wrinkled, and ugly body by not wearing a stitch of clothing?” “I’m a good person because I attend church. Who cares if I don’t give God a thought the rest of the week?” “I’m a kind person because I love my pets. Who cares if I treat human beings, made in God’s image, like dirt?”
Both Paul and James condemned the false confidence of people who pride themselves on keeping one or two aspects of the Law, while violating others. Such people are still lawbreakers in God’s sight (Romans 2:17-25; James 2:10-11). This is why Peter commanded us, “Supplement your faith with a generous provision of moral excellence, and moral excellence with knowledge, and knowledge with self-control, and self-control with patient endurance, and patient endurance with godliness, and godliness with brotherly affection, and brotherly affection with love for everyone” (2 Peter 1:5-7, NLT). In the words of Jesus, “You must be perfect even as your heavenly Father is perfect” (Matthew 5:48).
This truth also applies to many Christian believers who think to themselves, “If I can just overcome this one weakness in my life, I’ll be good to go.” “If I can just overcome my violent temper, my addiction, my sinful habit, my arrogance, my impure thoughts and motives, my pride, my lust, my greed, my bitterness … then all my problems will be over.” It’s certainly a good start to overcome that one problem. But we have only progressed as far as a nudist putting on a face mask. We have got a lot more of God’s virtues to put on.
Therefore, as long as we live down here we will never have any reason to be self-righteous. There will always be another problem staring us in the face, another enemy stronghold to overcome. As we grow in our spiritual journey, we will only become increasingly aware of our desperate need for God’s forgiveness, grace, and power. Humility and compassion for others are the true indicators of spiritual maturity.
But let us strive to be like Jesus (1 John 2:6). Yes we will always fall short in some area and must always rely upon God’s grace and Christ’s atonement. But perfection is what we should always pursue, as we are called to be like our heavenly Father in everything (Matthew 5:48; Ephesians 5:1).
PRAYER: Dear Father in heaven, I humbly acknowledge that without Your grace and the free gift of Your righteousness through Jesus, I am poor, wretched, blind, and naked. Please forgive, cleanse, and renew me. Please search my troubled heart, diagnose my problems, and administer Your cure. Day by day, little by little, make me more and more like Jesus, I pray. Amen.
(Information from: https://www.cnn.com/travel/article/czech-nudists-virus-police/index.html)