“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His great mercy has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to obtain an inheritance which is imperishable and undefiled and will not fade away, reserved in heaven for you, who are protected by the power of God through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.” (1 Peter 1:3-5)
It isn’t difficult to see when one visits us that our home isn’t perfect. It is very much ‘lived in’; perhaps we just have too much stuff. We all accumulate things, habits and patterns of living during the course of our lives and we find that very often things are never quite what we would expect or prefer (there’s a lot to be said for contentment) and we feel there is always something more we could do to improve things. It seems that we all have devised unattainable goals and unrealistic expectations, yet we live as though they are all possible. Such is the nature of hope!
If you’re anything like us, you will have to rush around making the home look presentable when you are expecting guests. You enjoy functioning well while entertaining or sharing hospitality and then afterwards, wonder why we don’t live like this all the time. Inexorably, the home quickly returns to its former state. The trouble is I cease to function efficiently and my addled brain stops processing things properly and I invariably grind to a halt; I function better in an orderly well organised environment and in such I become more motivated, inspired, creative and less irritable.
What about all the projects I have in mind to do, both domestic and professional (that book I always wanted to write, for example)? Why is it sometimes so difficult to achieve some or all of these goals?
I was reflecting on this expectation of an ideal world recently and it occurred to me that this is a little like our current situation in the grand narrative of time and space, the situation in which we have lived since the Fall and our subsequent ejection from the Garden of Eden. We lost the perfection into which we were created and in the present state of things, nothing is any longer as it should be; we live in a world in which we have to navigate between the shadows of both all that remains of goodness and all that is broken caused by the evil that now resides among us. As a result, in this world and in this life, perfection is impossible.
But that does not prevent us from trying to attain it: It’s a built-in desire for all we lost.
“We struggle our whole lives trying to fill a void we don’t have the resources to fill.”
Mankind’s insatiable appetite for progress, improvement and perfection drives us to seek great achievements in fulfilling that appetite. One can easily become obsessed with things like accumulating knowledge, attaining athletic prowess or taking extreme measures to maintain our youthful good looks (if we ever had them). When we are young we foster a hopeful ideology that life holds much promise. As we mature we settle into a pattern of life and as we age we begin to realise that we will never attain ‘all’ of the goals we set for ourselves:
- The more knowledge we acquire, the more we realise that there is infinitely more to know and we feel we know less and less, the more we find.
- The more physically fit our bodies become, the more we realise just how much effort it takes to maintain or improve it and as we age the body just isn’t able to keep up.
- The more we work on maintaining our youthful beauty, the more quickly we discover how we age and wrinkle anyway as entropy does its work; no matter how good we looked in life, in death we are but dust and ashes.
“I think everybody should get rich and famous and do everything they ever dreamed of so they can see that it’s not the answer.” (Jim Carrey)
Jim Carrey’s profound words may show that he has figured out the truth about the outcome of all our earthly hopes and ambitions, but has he discovered the answer to the problem?
But is perfection possible?
Well, there was Jesus!
The only perfect person, who lived out His life and died according to the will of the Father and accomplished all He set out to do. It was Jesus perfect accomplishments which enable us to find our perfect present and ultimate perfect future:
- We achieve sinless perfection – in God’s eyes (though we remain sinners still in this life) – because Jesus paid the price for our sins by His death on the Cross (We did not become perfect through our own efforts, it was only through what Jesus did for us).
- But we also will achieve future perfection, because through His resurrection from the dead, Jesus defeated death and enables those who believe to do likewise. In-Him we will then receive a perfected, resurrection-body, when the present one expires.
All of this is guaranteed to us upon receipt of the Holy Spirit at the moment of repentance and belief, which not only counts as a down payment by God for our eventual eternal inheritance, but also empowers and enables us to live the life in-Christ that we have thus entered into.
This gives us a meaningful hope to live by, changes our goals to align with His will and when we go to be with Him, all our dreams, hopes and ambitions are fulfilled in every conceivable way and in ways that we can’t yet even imagine.
“Not that I have already obtained it or have already become perfect, but I press on so that I may lay hold of that for which also I was laid hold of by Christ Jesus. Brethren, I do not regard myself as having laid hold of it yet; but one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and reaching forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 3:12-14)
Perhaps it’s time to consider shifting your priorities and to to seek the Saviour, as in Him is the only true source of attaining perfection, perspective in life and the answer to all our hopes, to some measure while still in the flesh, and in full measure once fully transformed .
Make Jesus the object of all your hopes, dreams and ambitions and He will give you so much more in return.
“But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.” (Matthew 6:33)
A very apt word in many ways! I tidied my office last week and can certainly relate to the need to be well organised to function effectively and many other things that you mentioned about aspirations and priorities too. Thanks for drawing my attention from the temporal to the eternal. Keep those posts coming!
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Thanks Paul, This reads like Ecclesiastes 12, you are getting old like me 🤣😁👍 how are you guys doing? 🤔 Blessings in Jesus, Jill
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