“Nobody’s perfect” is a common refrain usually voiced by an individual seeking to generalize imperfection and, perhaps, escape accountability. This phrase is also a defensive counter to the high moral ground typically understood by Christianity and its adherents. That is to say, regardless of the ethical expectations imposed by God upon humanity and by Christians to non-Christians especially, nobody can really live up to them. Therefore people should be treated with laxer and “understanding.” This counter-measure is so common that even Christians say to other Christians, “let him who is without sin among you cast the first stone.” Let me be quite clear; I am not advocating that absolute perfection is possible; however, this moral laxity develops into an apathetic indifference towards personal virtue and a casual pursuit of imperfection.
This relaxed attitude towards fallibility transforms into an embrace of it altogether. Some have even taken pride in displaying a lack of perfection. However, this isn’t the example that we see in the Scriptures. In his letter to the Philippians, Apostle Paul says our posture as saints is to run after perfection rather than run in its opposite direction. In fact, he instructs them not to chase a philosophical idea of perfection but follow after Him who is perfect, namely, Christ. Philippians 3:12-13 [NIV] says, “Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already arrived at my goal, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead.” The Apostle willingly admits he hasn’t arrived yet and is still pursuing his goal, but this doesn’t cause him to abandon his quest; instead, he chooses to let go and forget past mistakes and failings and press forward. For Paul, imperfection isn’t an excuse to remain imperfect but rather the reason he runs after the perfection that he finds in Jesus Christ and relentlessly hounds it until he can be more like Christ.
Is this still our goal, to be more like Christ? Or is it simpler and easier to neglect His model altogether and settle for a mediocre lifestyle that doesn’t bring God glory? I humbly admonish, because I’m not perfect either, that we seek to possess all that we can in Christ and not allow the fact that nobody’s perfect to lull us into a life of ease. After all, the truth is, it wasn’t easy for Jesus, and He was perfect. Therefore, in like manner, let us do as the Apostle Paul and forget our past errors and chase after and be guided by the gracious perfection seen in Jesus. In measuring ourselves against Him, we can adequately see our flaws and give us the path to correct them.