Raising the Bar
Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect.
For my three-year-old son, a very good day is one during which he has not once wet his pants. As a very young man, the bar of success for him is not very high. As adult Christians, the standard that we are to use was given to us by our Lord during the Sermon on the Mount, wherein he told us that we must be perfect, just as our heavenly Father is perfect.
The word Christ uses for perfect also is used to denote a type of completeness or an attainment of full maturity. In this sense, Christ is calling us to become fully mature men and women, not just physically, but emotionally and spiritually. We are to put away childish things, to use the words of the Apostle Paul. We are to become Christian men and women, but more like the unfallen man than the fallen one. This is what it means to be perfect: to be the person God created us to be—whole, complete, and mature.
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Thomas S. Buchanan is the George W. Laird Professor of Mechanical Engineering and Biomedical Engineering at the University of Delaware. He has studied at UCSD, Northwestern University, and MIT, and has held visiting professorships at the University of Western Australia and the University of Aix-Marseille. He has served as department chairman, deputy dean, and institute director, president of the American Society of Biomechanics, and editor-in-chief of the Journal of Applied Biomechanics. He is on the Board of Trustees of Saint Katherine College, the editorial board of Touchstone, and the board of The Fellowship of St. James.
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