“To this hour we are hungry and thirsty, and our clothes are worn out. People hurt us. We have no homes.
We work with our hands to make a living. We speak kind words to those who speak against us. When people hurt us, we say nothing.” I Cor. 4:11-12 NLV
If I am serious about being a true disciple for Jesus, I will experience the tension of living in an imperfect world.
The Sermon on the Mount is a beautiful sentiment to the natural man; but according to his views, it is hopelessly impossible. The reason is, the natural man fights his way through life with carnal weapons and justifies his methods by saying, “You’ve got to fight fire with fire otherwise you are done for!”
‘But as Your disciple, Lord, I cannot accept that way of life. In an imperfect world I must employ spiritual principles, not carnal ones or try to justify my fleshly actions and hurtful words. I cannot twist your Word around to fit my fleshly desires.
For the natural man, to be carnal is life; but for me it is death!’
Paul said, “Slaves, obey your earthly masters.” (Eph. 6:5 NIV) There is no condition or compromise here! I am to be obedient always, regardless of whether I feel like it or not.
The Bible never says, “Be perfect IF, or be perfect EXCEPT.” God knows how imperfect, selfish and cruel the world is; yet He says to me, “Never mind them; do as I say.”
The great temptation to a disciple is to become accommodating which leads to compromise. By this he tends to lower his behavioral standards to become popular, to please his idols, famous, and acceptable to the world while trying to maintain a Christian appearance.
It takes great courage to be a “sore thumb” for Jesus Christ and that is what I will be if I insist on treating the world according to God’s standard. Sadly, there is no other way God can work redemptively in the natural man; he must see the alternative to the meaningless life he lives.
Jesus has set His disciples among unbelievers as the true example of a life of truth and virtue, which is what the natural man longs for inwardly.
I am to be “perfect” for his sake, as well as for God’s eternal glory. When we live that kind of life, we “become [in behavior] sons of [our] heavenly Father” for that is the way our Father lives. (Matthew 5:45 Berkeley)