A Perfection Worth Pursuing
Part 15 of the Codependent in Colossians Series
by Kim Pullen
Series Manifesto: Instead of ignoring the pain following the disclosure of our spouse’s sexual sin, we choose to use our trauma as a catalyst for growth, digging deeply into God’s Word in search of spiritual healing and transformation.
“We proclaim him, admonishing and teaching everyone with all wisdom, so that we may present everyone perfect in Christ. To this end I [the Apostle Paul] labor, struggling with all His energy which so powerfully works in me.”
It’s interesting how the definition of the perfect woman changes every few decades. In the Renaissance, perfect was buxom and fleshy since extra poundage meant you were wealthy enough to eat and sit around all day. In the 1920s, ideal females were flat-chested and hipless like the flapper girls. Only 30 years later, it was blond and bosomy, like Marilyn Monroe.
Today’s postmodern beauty has large breasts and buttocks, a flat stomach, and thin thighs (I guess I’m only half a beauty), and she’s willing to get plastic surgery to achieve this look.
Uh, no, thank you.
A Flawed View of Perfection
When we’re in the middle of a developing process, it’s difficult to view ourselves or our view objectively. This is glaringly true when it comes to how we define “perfection”, whether it’s physical, mental, relational, or spiritual.
As Christians, instead of defining “perfection” by the scriptures, too often we are assimilated into believing what the media or our current culture tells us.
Think about it and look at the chart below. What is your definition of perfection?
It started with my flawed father and just went downhill from there. Even now, several years into my recovery journey from codependency, holding to this teaching is challenging. I know Satan’s definition is wrong, but I regularly default back to those old patterns of thinking because they’re so darned familiar.
I find myself resisting being vulnerable, the very thing I need in order to become complete or mature in Christ.
The Agony of Perfection
Brené Brown is not the first one to make vulnerability attractive. Vulnerability is real and compelling because it cares more about its message and its connection to its audience than it does about its reputation.
True perfection or maturity agonizes over others the way Jesus did over Israel in Matthew 23:37 and over those who crucified him: “Father, forgive them, they don’t know what they are doing” (Luke 23:34).
In our key text in Colossians 1:28-29 and from a prison cell, Paul didn’t tell the Christians he agonized (agonizomai) over the perfect portrait he portrayed to the world. On the contrary, he wrestled over how to better teach and admonish every disciple and non-believer into maturity in Christ.
What’s more, Paul bragged about his flawed character, recognizing his imperfections are what made him rely more and more on Jesus (2 Corinthians 12:7-10).
Perfection Worth the Pursuing
Let’s face it. Becoming and sustaining the perfection of the postmodern beauty is no picnic. In fact, it’s agony—plastic surgery, Botox, starvation, cardboard food, waxing, etc (maybe that’s why I’m not a modern-day beauty).
Striving for the world’s definition of perfection is like catching rain in your mouth. You can taste it, but it never really satisfies your thirst. Worse, it’s elusive like chasing your tail. If as women, we opt to run after culture’s idea of beauty, you can bet as soon as we catch it, it’ll morph on us.
That’s exhausting to think about. All that wasted energy for a lie.
Heck, if I’m going to suffer, I’m going to suffer for something that will last. I want to get my definition of perfect from God’s Word. I want to be “made perfect” or mature like Jesus even if it means suffering (Hebrews 2:10).
That’ll probably mean more difficulties, more challenges to my faith, and more sin I have to repent of. Being transforming into the image of Christ will take me a lifetime, but that’s a perfection I’m willing to pursue.
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