Being a perfect Christian is a worthy goal,
but it's unreachable in this life

Millions of singles are struggling hard to be a perfect Christian. They want to say and do everything right, all the time.

The Bible calls us to imitate Jesus, but we should keep one thing in mind. He was the only human being who ever lived who was sinless.


That's impossible for the rest of us. You and I have already sinned--countless times. Even if we put our entire willpower to work and got the constant help of the Holy Spirit, I don't think it's realistic to believe we could go until the minute of our death never sinning again.

The perfect Christian of preachers

Today I heard a sermon on the radio by a famous preacher, in which he said God will not answer our prayers if there is sin in our life.

We should always be on guard against sin. We should confess it and repent of it as soon as it happens. We should give our every effort and ask for God's full help in avoiding sin.

But is it realistic to say we should be sinless? Is it honest to demand that God wants nothing to do with us if we're sinners?

It's a tough question. We want to be sin-free in the worst way. I don't know about you, but after a lifetime of trying, I've realized I'll never achieve that. Not that I've given up, mind you.

I can't stop sinning, as hard as I try. When I do confess my sin and repent, it isn't long before I trespass again and have to repeat the process.

Does that mean God only hears my prayers in those brief intervals when I am sin-free, in a state of grace? I confess that those times make up a small percentage of my life.

I think of a Roman centurion who asked Jesus to heal his servant. Jesus offered to come to his house immediately, but the Roman soldier replied:

"Lord, I do not deserve to have you come under my roof.
But just say the word, and my servant will be healed."
(Matthew 8:8)


Did Jesus say, "Oops. You admit you're a sinner. I won't help you."? No, he marveled at the man's faith and instantly healed the servant from a distance.

Don't get me wrong. We can't sin constantly and rebelliously and expect to stay in a close walk with God, but if we put a long list of conditions on God's love and help, we make prayer and living the Christian life impossible.

The guilt of not being a perfect Christian

Most of us are staggering under a heavy load of guilt, afraid we don't measure up to God's standards.

But did Jesus die so we can feel miserable? Does he want us to feel inferior all the time?

When you read the gospels, Jesus constantly criticized the Pharisees for their burden of rules and impossible standards. Jesus narrowed it down to two commandments: Love God with all your heart, and love your neighbor as yourself.

That puts it into perspective, doesn't it? Some think being the perfect Christian means participating in every church activity, constantly doing acts of charity, being cheerful 100 percent of the time, and keeping your personal life squeaky clean. Sounds like a formula for a nervous breakdown to me!

We can only do our best, and let God do the rest. We're only capable of so much. Setting impossible goals leads to stress, and we all have enough of that already.

Does Jesus want you to be a perfect Christian?

So what did Jesus mean when he said: "Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect." (Matthew 5:48)?

Jesus is the ultimate realist. He also knows the human heart better than anyone else. He knows what is possible for us and what is not. Here's the bottom line: If Jesus thought we could become perfect Christians on our own, why would he have had to die for us?

I believe he wants us to aspire to that state. He wants us to love God so much that we make the focus of our life pleasing and obeying him.

To do that we can:

  • Separate ourselves from the world's imperfections. We are to be in the world but not of the world. There's a lot of sin going on, but we singles don't need to be part of it. Sure, we're going to stick out if we say "no," but we're called to make a choice, regardless of name-calling.

  • Strive to grow in our maturity. The Christian life is a growth process. We learn a little each day. We try not to repeat our mistakes. We learn by watching and listening to others. We mature over time. When you're born again, you may be a new creature, but you're not instantly a perfect Christian. Our maturity comes in stages. The closer we walk with God, the faster we mature.

  • Keep from getting discouraged. We'll all backslide. Our progress won't be as fast as we'd like. We'll feel ashamed and angry at ourselves when we sin. Jesus is always there to help us get back up. We won't be perfect until the next life, but Jesus forgives us and has promised to help us get there.




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