Searchlight

Papa J's Journal

Voter Guides & Prayer Requests
Psalm 20:7 & Galatians 6:2
Friday, July 19, 2024





Daily Devotional with Pastor Jon

July 21

Finally, brethren, farewell. Be perfect, be of good comfort, be of one mind, live in peace; and the God of love and peace shall be with you. Greet one another with an holy kiss. All the saints salute you. The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the communion of the Holy Ghost, be with you all. Amen.

2 Corinthians 13:11-14

No doubt, the hearts of the Corinthians would be encouraged and inspired by these warm words of Paul. Mine is. But there is one phrase which troubles me greatly. And I bet it troubled the Corinthians as well — for in the midst of Paul’s beautiful benediction and heartwarming affirmation are words which cause within me a real consternation: be perfect. Why couldn’t Paul have said, ‘Be happy’, or ‘Be good’, or ‘Be all that you can be’? Why did he have to say, ‘Be perfect’?

If you have a newer translation, perhaps your Bible renders this phrase, ‘Be mature.’ Other paraphrases read, ‘Grow up.’ And while these are both close to the meaning, linguistically, the word Paul uses encompasses more than maturity or growth. It means, literally, ‘Be perfect.’ We can seek to sidestep it. We can try to get around it, but it means just what it says.

The implications are amazing, for if the Scriptures tell you and me that we are to be perfect, to do what’s right, it must mean that in every situation, in every day we live, there is right and there is wrong. This should be obvious to us, but there’s a point in the history of Israel when the Lord sent the prophet Isaiah to indict the people concerning this very issue.

Woe unto them that call evil good, and good evil; that put darkness for light, and light for darkness; that put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter (Isaiah 5:20)!

At this juncture in their history, the people of Israel were confused in their understanding of right and wrong. They were entirely mixed up in their morality. So the prophet Isaiah thunders, ‘Woe to those in your society who say that light is dark and dark light, who are all mixed up in their morals and ethics’. And we see the same thing in our own culture. Yet even as people argue for traditional family values, we still miss the mark. Why? Because values are subjective. For example, I value my Volkswagen van. But you and I could argue indefinitely about what the value is because of the subjective nature of values. No, the issue is not values. The issue is perfection.

What is perfect? The Law of the Lord is perfect (Psalm 19:7). Given to us by God rather than generated within the mind of man, the Law of God is non-negotiable.

‘Be ye perfect,’ Jesus said, ‘even as your Father in Heaven is perfect.’ But then He went on to say, ‘Unless your righteousness exceeds that of the scribes and Pharisees, you’ll not enter into the Kingdom of Heaven,’ (Matthew 5:20).

There are two ways to go about trying to be perfect. You can steel yourself morally and ethically by erecting rules and regulations around yourself. Then you’ll be like a man in a bathysphere — those big balls made out of cast iron with walls six inches thick — exploring the deepest trenches of the Pacific Ocean. Yet as you sit cramped and confined within your bathysphere, what will you see? Little fish with extremely thin skin swimming around totally free. How can these fish survive such depths? The answer is simple: The pressure within them is equal to the pressure outside of them.

There are those in the Moral Majority and Religious Right who say, ‘We’re going to construct iron plates of rules and regulations around us.’ But there’s a better way. Christ in us is the hope of glory (Colossians 1:27). It’s not the Law outside of us, but the Lawgiver, the Lover of our Soul, Christ Jesus in us who will whisper to us, ‘Why are you going in there? Why are you watching that? Why are you thinking those thoughts? Let Me show you a better way of thinking, of speaking, of acting, of living.’

‘I will write My will in your heart,’ God declared (Jeremiah 31:33). And He does so through His Spirit Who dwells within us.

My bathysphere has sprung a leak or two along the way. So has yours. But when Jesus Christ died for our sin, He paid the price for the leaks we’ve sprung, for every mistake we’ve made. Thus, it is through Him and Him alone that we can be perfect by being perfectly forgiven.

This Daily Devotional is an excerpt from the book "A Day's Journey" by Pastor Jon. "A Day's Journey" is a collection of 365 short devotions from the New Testament. If you would like your own copy of "A Day's Journey" you can order one from the SearchLight Store.


Through-the-Bible

Pastor Jon's Complete
Through-the-Bible Teachings
in MP3 Audio Format on a
USB Flash Drive
$10

This flash drive contains Pastor Jon's teachings through the entire Bible (Genesis through Revelation) in MP3 audio format. There are over 1200 teachings which include Jon's verse by verse exposition of the Bible as well as the Sunday sermons which take a more in-depth look at a section of the Scripture from the verse by verse study.