". . . and having done all . . . stand firm." Eph. 6:13


Stop Looking for a Perfect Life and Start Looking to a Perfect Savior

April 21, 2024

The white picket fence. Kids running around the yard. A husband who provides for and loves his family deeply. The wife who turns a house into a home. For some, this is as close to perfection as humanly possible. For others, a successful career in a field of one’s dreams equates to a perfect life. Even still, there are so many different ways people paint this picture of perfection and apply it to the lives they hope to live.

Mark 11:24 reads, “Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours.” And there are other passages in Scripture akin to this, which serve as encouragement for believers to bring their requests to God. And so, we do just that. But often, our requests are answered in ways we don’t want them to be answered. We become dismayed, seeing that our lives are not going the way we wished them to go. Suddenly, life feels chaotic and confusing. We don’t know what we’re supposed to do, because nothing we asked for or pursued is working out.

And what, then, do we do when things don’t go our way, and our lives seem anything but perfect? For many, this is when doubt creeps in, and faith is shaken. “Father!” we cry. “Why would you tell me to bring my requests to You if the answer is just going to be no?” Well, maybe you’ve never asked that question, but some have. And Scripture has an answer for it.

The problem this mindset creates is that it causes us to bank our hope in a finite, incomplete definition of perfection. We think the life we conjure up is the life that’s best for us, forgetting we serve a God whose ways are far superior to our own. We inject unnecessary anxiety within our already restless souls trying to force our will to happen instead of trusting in the Author of our lives to write the most perfect story for our lives. As such, the answer to our distress is this: We must stop looking at humanly defined perfection and start looking at divinely defined perfection.

It doesn’t take much digging through Scripture to see that our lives on earth were not meant to be perfect. And while I’ll come back to this point, it’s worth recognizing that Jesus is the only one who lived a perfect life. And what did it look like? Well, not perfect.

His life was filled with calamity. The Pharisees were constantly preying on Him, and many laughed at the message He proclaimed. And, as we know well, He was killed — beaten, mocked, and scorned, to be precise. He faced the ultimate wrath of God on that old rugged cross and faced utter alienation from His Father. And before this brutal suffering on Cavalry, Jesus “fell on His face” and prayed in Luke 22:42, “Father, if you are willing, remove this cup from me.” Quite understandably, Jesus prayed for there to be some other, less excruciatingly painful way for the gospel mission to be accomplished. Not even Jesus, the Son of God, was excited about the violent fate He was to endure. But after this request, do you recall the very next words that were uttered from His mouth? He said, “Nevertheless, not my will, but yours, be done.”

And that, beloved, is why His life was perfect. Not because it was without trial and tribulation, but because it was sinless and in complete submission to God. Jesus, being fully man and fully God, had a will perfectly in tune with that of His Father, something every believer is called to strive for. But in this life, believers simply won’t reach a point of sinlessness, nor an ability to be impeccably aligned with the will of God. The Apostle Paul talks about this in Romans 7 where he wrote, “I do not understand my own actions. For I do not do what I want, but I do the very thing I hate” (v.15).

The entirety of this chapter carefully details the battle we face as redeemed sinners in a world still overrun with sin. While we have new hearts by the grace of God through faith in His Son, we are still “afflicted in every way” (2 Corinthians 4:8). Until the Lord returns or we are called home, we will wrestle with sin and fall short of a perfect life. But thankfully, that’s not what this life is about. Rather, this life is about wanting God’s will more than our will, as Jesus prayed and instructed us to pray.

This life is about Christ and His coming kingdom. And because we’re part of this kingdom, Scripture tells us we will be hated as truth-tellers. We will suffer, just as Christ suffered. But we “press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called” us in Christ, because the goal is not a perfect life now, but a perfect (and eternal) life later. Indeed, the only perfect life we will live, the perfect life that will never end, is in the new heaven and the new earth. A reality secured by the blood of Christ for those who believe. How marvelous is this truth!

And so, as we live in this fallen, incredibly imperfect world, it remains positively crucial to keep our eyes fixed not on a perfect life now, but on a perfect Creator who leads us to the most perfect way everlasting. No matter what we face now, no matter what plans of our own fall through, we put our hope in the plans of our Lord and Savior. His perfect will unfolds uniquely in each life, but for His people, it all ends the same being free from pain, sin, and death, eternally wrapped in the arms of our King.

So, no, our lives on this earth will not be perfect. On the contrary to perfection, they will be hard. We will cry, suffer, question, struggle — you name it. There will be many days that make us want to give up. And my encouragement to you is: store in your heart the words of 2 Corinthians 4:17-18, “For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison, as we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal.”

Our perfect life awaits, and how great it will be, because the One who is great will be there, in His full glory, saying to us, “Well done, good and faithful servant.”

“How great Thou art,” the hymnist proclaims. Indeed, the church sings: “When Christ shall come, with shout of acclamation, and take me home, what joy shall fill my heart. Then I shall bow, in humble adoration, and then proclaim: ‘My God, how great Thou art!’ Then sings my soul, my Savior God, to Thee, how great Thou art, how great Thou art.”

Sarah Holliday is a reporter at The Washington Stand.