The Imperfect Disciple

Called to Perfection

Easter Week 2021, Inaugural Post

Be perfect as I am perfect.” Scripture’s stunning phrases trouble me. Piercing words expressing the true desire of God. Nothing missing. No voids or lapses. Rather completeness, with holiness and wholeness, living as the human being I am meant to be. I should be saturated with the presence of Almighty God—no sin within or around my soul. 

Trembling at the instruction and yes, many many years as a disciple, I confess to missing the mark. Perhaps you know the be perfect-instruction first occurs in the pages of the Torah—to be specific Leviticus 19 (be holy) and Deuteronomy 18 (be blameless). The readings will not make you happy. To achieve less, to be less, to live in disobedience being less than who God intends—well, it is a reality disciples’ identify as sin.

Each of the English translations for the Hebrew Bible pinpoint the command and I struggle like a moth attached to an insect-display board—be perfect. Later, Jesus will repeat the profound challenge (Matthew 5:48). I am impaled by the pin as it were death. Let no one proclaim grace, without first deeply acknowledging this reality.

On my best days, reaching my highest spiritual potential, I have good qualities; but actually none achieve divine perfection. Let me be clear, some days my thoughts, actions and emotions are spiritually destructive.

Drawing near to the Father, approaching the God of Heaven and Earth enhances my awareness—the vision sharpens. It is as if a cataract cloud of non-seeing is replaced with lenses of clarity. “I was blind…now I see.” Oddly, Scripture reminds me, “If we claim to be without sin [complete, whole, without void], we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us” (1 John 1:8).

Life Applications

  • When our brother John saw his own imperfections he wrote: “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness. If we claim we have not sinned, we make him out to be a liar and his word is not in us” (1 John 1:9-10).
  • From one imperfect disciple to others, I trust you see the high and holy challenge before us.

To be continued

I look forward to reading your comments and suggestions.

Published by Andrew Simkins

Dr. Andrew Simkins provides spiritual direction for individuals and small groups through the regular blog posts found on this site. He resides in northwest Indiana with his beloved, along with nearby children and grandchildren who are the adornment of his life.

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