Oregon picture perfect mountains

In the prior post we considered the perfection of God and the reality that His perfection extends to each of His attributes.  Perfect beauty, perfect love, perfect mercy, perfect wisdom, perfect justice, perfect power, etc.   Further, God’s perfection has always existed and it will continue to exist even after the end of time.  He is perfect and nothing will change that condition.

Recall, too, that which the medieval theologians said of God:  they used a phrase which may be translated as “the most perfect being”, the Latin phrase “ens perfectissimus”.

Today, we want to consider God’s perfection as it compares to our own. 

Jesus is the second person of the Trinity, which is composed of the Father, the Son [Jesus] and the Holy Spirit.  We believe that Jesus was fully divine as part of the Godhead.  We also believe that Jesus was fully human, just as you and I are human, but He had no sin. 

Jesus, the incarnation of God, said:

“You therefore must be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect.”

Matthew 5:48 ESV.

In His human nature, He lived a perfect life because He fulfilled the law in each and every aspect of it.  Therefore, He was the sinless sacrifice that atoned for the sins that we have committed.  Because Jesus lived this perfect life as a man, He fulfilled His own commandment to us that we should be perfect as God, our heavenly Father, is perfect.  

Paul, in his letter to the Romans, describes our condition in which our mind and heart want to follow God and do His commandments but our flesh refuses and chooses to sin instead.

For I know that nothing good dwells in me, that is, in my flesh. For I have the desire to do what is right, but not the ability to carry it out.  For I do not do the good I want, but the evil I do not want is what I keep on doing.” 

Romans 7:18-19 ESV

Wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death? Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord! So then, I myself serve the law of God with my mind, but with my flesh I serve the law of sin.”  

Romans 7:24-25 ESV

Paul answered his gut-wrenching scream in verse 24 with his thanks as expressed in verse 25 – Jesus Christ is the One who can rescue us from this dilemma.  Clearly, because of sin we cannot even be considered a little bit good in God’s eyes, certainly not “perfect”!  

In the letter to the Philippians, Paul talked more about perfection, and said:

Not that I have already obtained this or am already perfect, but I press on to make it my own, because Christ Jesus has made me his own.  Brothers, I do not consider that I have made it my own. But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining 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 ESV. 

Paul recognized that we are not, nor can we on our own be, perfect.  Even the apostle had not attained perfection; but he pressed on toward this goal because he belonged to Jesus Christ.  Our victory over sin is through Jesus Christ who did live that perfect life which we regularly fail to accomplish.  Not only did Jesus live a sinless life, He died on the cross and was raised from the dead on the third day.  He vanquished sin and death and He has promised to do that for us, for those who believe in His name and accept Him as their Savior.   

Paul, here, was referring to Isaiah 25:8, when he told the Corinthians that perfection did not belong to us, but to the One who conquered sin and death:

“O death, where is your victory? O death, where is your sting?  The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law.  But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.”

1 Corinthians 15:55-57 ESV 

The quintessence of perfection belongs to God, the Father Almighty because He is perfect:  simply put, perfection is just one of His attributes.  Indeed, it is because of His love for His people that we even get a glimpse of perfection in this fallen world.  Thank Him for giving us His Son, through whom we can be counted as righteous, or as perfect, before the holy eyes of our Almighty God.

Praise Him that He loves us so much that Jesus Christ lived a perfect life among us sinners so that we could be transported to heaven and live in His perfect righteousness there!

Father, when we consider Your attributes and realize that You are perfect, in all things, we can only bow in humble reverence that You would consider us at all.  When we remember that You sent Your Son as our Savior, the only response we rightfully can offer is one of repentant obedience, gratitude, and devotion.


A simple glance at a garden, forest or lawn gives evidence that all flowers and trees are not the same.   What is in the seed of the plant is what will come out as it matures.


Palm tree (C)
Palm tree at Mission San Jose, San Antonio, Texas.


We know, for example, that it is futile to ask a date palm or a fig tree to grow as a shrub or to bloom as a rose.


Book pictures - flowers 15
Flowering shrub planted in front yard, definitely not a rose!.



We can identify the plant by its fruit. Every farmer knows this, and even those of us who are from the city know this is true.


It was true 2000 years ago, too.  See, for example, Scripture in the Book of  James where the writer talks about the consistency between the seed and the fruit in James 3:9-12 [ESV] just after speaking of the difficulty of taming the tongue:


With it [the tongue] we bless our Lord and Father, and with it we curse people who are made in the likeness of God. From the same mouth come blessing and cursing. My brothers, these things ought not to be so. Does a spring pour forth from the same opening both fresh and salt water? Can a fig tree, my brothers, bear olives, or a grapevine produce figs? Neither can a salt pond yield fresh water.


In other words, what is inside the plant determines what the outer growth will be.  In like manner, what is in my heart and soul will determine what my actions will be.


Thus, I need to consider my words and actions in light of my assertion that I am a believer in Jesus Christ and that I have been indwelt by the Holy Spirit. Non-believers will be evaluating me at every moment … what kind of affect does this Jesus have on my life? Are my words loving or are they cutting?  Are they affirming or are they hurtful?  Am I building up or tearing down?


When I curse or say unkind things to others, I think “Where did that come from?”   Scripture would answer that question by saying “It is from sin”.   We still will sin because we are not our Lord. Even the Apostle Paul said:

“For I do not understand my own actions. For I do not do what I want, but I do the very thing I hate.”

Romans 7:15 [ESV]


But, the good news is that Jesus conquered the disease of sin that infected each person since Adam’s fall when He died on the cross to take our punishment and to cover us in His righteousness before His Father, the Holy God of Scripture.   Therefore, as believers in Jesus Christ, our old sin nature no longer holds control over us. In short, we are able to, and we should be, exhibiting Jesus’ nature.


The Apostle Paul tells us that the evidence of our being new creatures in Christ is the growth of the fruit of the Holy Spirit in our lives.


But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.

Galatians 5:21-22.


These qualities have their source in the Holy Spirit and, while their names are common, the characteristics that should be evident in the Christian by virtue of the Holy Spirit residing in her heart are anything but common.


So, when people hear me speaking, do they hear tantrums and outbursts or do they hear the voice of Jesus?   When I interact with others in a commercial setting, do they hear anger and fury because of some delay which was unavoidable or do they see Jesus’ patience when He dealt with people who could not understand, even showing patience with those who actively rejected His words?


In short, the question is whether I, as a believer in Christ, exhibit the fruit of the Spirit, i.e., characteristics of His Spirit given to us by the Holy Spirit, as I live my life before others around me?    We should be striving for living a life consistent with the characteristics of Jesus Christ as He gives us the grace to so do through the power of the Holy Spirit.


I know that I have to confess my sin for refusing to follow the Holy Spirit’s guidance and for denying my Lord by my actions before others. What about you?


Father, forgive me when I have ignored your Spirit and have acted and spoken in ways that undermined my witness for my Lord and Savior.  I pray that I would keep my eyes focused on you, and that I would reflect Jesus Christ to those around me. I ask that the fruit of the Spirit would grow and be evident in my life, so that You will be honored and glorified in all things.


One of our canine daughters, Cuddles to be exact, has a desire for … butter. Not butter flavoring and not butter on anything, she just wants a stick of butter. It must be softened so that it is the right consistency, but otherwise, she apparently is not particular about brand.

Here is a picture of Cuddles before we knew of her love of butter. Thin, svelte figure of a darling MinPin canine!

Cuddles when we brought her home.
Cuddles when we brought her home.

We discovered her penchant for the slippery treat when looking for the butter dish one evening. It had been on the dining room table, along with the salt, pepper and napkin rack. So, being humans with fairly good memory retention about the location of things, we proceeded to go to the dining room and found that we were correct. There was the butter dish, without the cover – that had been knocked off.  We often lay it on its side when we partake of the solid, delicious, edible fat better-known as butter – but the dish was clean. I’m talking dishwasher clean.

At first, we thought that we must have used all the butter and washed it, but the dishwasher still had the dirty dinner dishes in it and I recalled putting a whole stick of butter on the dish the previous day.

Then we thought that perhaps we used the stick and failed to put another in its place. That was a reasonable conclusion except for the fact that we always replace the butter with a stick from the refrigerator so that it will be soft when we want to use it.

At that point we both noticed that Cuddles was nowhere to be found. Normally, if we are even within calling distance to the table where food is consumed, Cuddles is there waiting for us to drop anything on the floor. If we are not careful, she will jump up and knock whatever we are carrying to the floor, such is her deep desire to be surrounded by food. Indeed, the dog trainer said:

“I have never seen such a food-centric dog before!”

So, her silent absence spoke volumes in people language!

Then we noticed that the place mats were shoved around a bit, and one of the chairs had not been returned to its position under the table. The evidence was in – she had jumped up onto the chair, put her little canine feet on the table, knocked off the lid and consumed virtually the entire stick of butter. In short, she ate ¼ pound of butter, and licked the plate absolutely clean.

The Butter Dish -- licked clean.
The Butter Dish — licked clean.

Hence, her name around the house has become Butter Belly (from my Beloved) or Butter Buns (from me). Several hours later, she bestowed upon my Beloved a real treat when she became violently sick while laying on his lap. The butter had its revenge and my husband was the one who paid for it!

Butter Buns must not have a good memory about the effects of solid butter on the canine system because today we went into the dining room and found the butter dish empty, again. This time, however, there had been only a couple of tablespoons of butter left on the dish, but still it was not a pleasant thought. After spanking her, and putting her out to the backyard, we are hoping the lesson that “butter is bad for doggies” has been learned.

However, in our home, Butter Buns is not the only one who yearns after that which she should not have.   As Christians, we are to put off the old man and allow the Holy Spirit to have full sway, full reign, and full control of our lives.

But now you must put them all away: anger, wrath, malice, slander, and obscene talk from your mouth. Do not lie to one another, seeing that you have put off the old self with its practices and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge after the image of its creator.

Colossians 3:8-10.

We know that Jesus Christ paid the price for our sin when He died on the cross at Calvary and that His resurrection sealed the fate of Satan and all his henchmen. Sin no longer has control of us and we can defeat it in our lives by living through the power of the Holy Spirit. This is what we should strive for in our Christian lives. Since the Holy Spirit is, as His name indicates, Holy, this means that sin cannot be countenanced by Him.

But, still we sin. We are human and we still have the old nature within us and there are times that we simply do not win the battle when facing temptation that is put before us … like the butter dish. Paul recognized this fight and said:

For I know that nothing good dwells in me, that is, in my flesh. For I have the desire to do what is right, but not the ability to carry it out. For I do not do the good I want, but the evil I do not want is what I keep on doing.   Now if I do what I do not want, it is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells within me.

Romans 7:18-20

Butter Buns trying to appear innocent.
Butter Buns trying to appear innocent.

I have to say that Butter Buns is a four-footed illustration of my fight with temptation and the frequency with which I fail to resist and do the right thing. I may not lick the butter dish clean, but there are many areas of my life which are just as unhealthy and just as inconsistent with having the Holy Spirit resident within me.

What about you – does Butter Buns remind you that we must yield to the Holy Spirit on a daily, moment-by-moment basis, so that He can accomplish His work to transform us into the image of Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savior? Let us confess the sin, repent, and be cleansed by His grace and love. Then, we can live victoriously through His Spirit.

As for Butter Buns, we are moving the butter dish to the far edge of the kitchen counter! Perhaps a locking lid butter dish …?

Father, I pray that you will make me aware of the times that I am sinning and displeasing Your Holy Spirit. I pray that I would be sensitive to sin in my own life and that I would repent and turn from those actions, thoughts and desires. I pray that I would be transformed into the image of Jesus Christ, Your Son and my Savior, for it is in His Name that I pray.