Purposely Pursuing Perfection

Tim

Stratton

(The FreeThinking Theist)

|

August 9, 2017

I recently took up a new hobby. Yes, this might surprise you, but there is more to my life than sitting behind this laptop and churning out articles on theology and apologetics! Contrary to popular opinion, I have a somewhat balanced life! I enjoy doing CrossFit, wrestling around with my son (who is getting bigger and stronger every day), and going on bike rides with my wife. My little min pin, Rondo, keeps me busy too! And, as many know, I love watching sports and good movies (especially if it is a Star Wars or super hero flick)! I used to be active in Mixed Martial Arts and played bass guitar in several Christian rock bands (click here for video evidence), but I just do not have the time to do those things any more.

Now, admittedly, I do struggle not to be consumed with reading, research, writing, and looking at glowing “iRectangles” at all hours of the day. When my wife, Tia, comes home from work and Ethan gets home from whatever sport he is currently involved in after school, Tia makes me close my laptop and start thinking about other things. Now it is time to have fun as a family.

Sometimes it is a struggle to leave behind the spiritual battle which I have been fighting the whole day (especially if the attacks are personal) but it is vital for me to decompress. A couple of times my wife has actually told me to go play some old school Nintendo video games (like Super Mario Brothers) so that I can stop thinking about deep topics that I have been swimming in for hours. Many others have also encouraged me to make sure that I make time for my hobbies.

This brings me back to my new hobby. It was actually a prospective FreeThinking Ministries board member who encouraged me to join him in this endeavor. My new hobby is shooting stuff! That’s right, I am now an official rookie in the sport of competitive pistol shooting (click here for video evidence)! To be honest, I am not the best, but it is a lot of fun, and I look forward to getting better all the time. My goals right now are safety first, accuracy second, and I am striving to becoming faster as time goes on. I have a long way to go, but this is going to be a fun journey as I pursue perfection and strive to glorify God in all things.

Colossians 3:23

Whatever you do, do it enthusiastically, as something done for the Lord and not for men

For my birthday/Father’s Day (they are only a few days apart), my wife and son gave me a gift so that I could participate and be competitive in this new sport — a Glock 34 mos with a red dot sight! This pistol is awesome, reliable, and accurate! One thing I noticed when reading the literature that came along with the weapon is Glock’s slogan in bold font:

“Our culture is driven by the pursuit of perfection.”

When I read that I thought, “Wow! I cannot even engage in my new hobby without thinking about theology!” (To be honest, I cannot do anything without viewing it through a theistic lens!) Why do I think about theology when reading Glock’s summed up mission statement? Because this is what all humans are called to do; we are called to pursue the perfect! What is “the perfect”? God is the maximally great being and the only “thing” in which cannot be improved. “Perfect Being Theology” is the study of the one and only Maximally Great Being.

Psalm 18:30

As for God, his way is perfect:
The Lord’s word is flawless;
he shields all who take refuge in him.

What makes God perfectly great? It is the fact that God possesses several attributes which cannot be improved. To name a few (those I refer to as the Big 3), God is perfectly powerful (omnipotent), perfectly intelligent (omniscient), and perfectly loving (omnibenevolent). See my sermon notes “Who’s Your Daddy?” for a study on these three omni attributes. Humans possess some power, but we are really quite small, puny, and weak in relation to the entire universe (there are so many things that can kill even the biggest and strongest man and no human escapes death). Humans possess some knowledge, but if there is one thing I know with certainty, it is that I do not know everything there is to know! And humans demonstrate some love to some people, but all one has to do is watch five minutes of the news to see that there seems to be much more hate and evil in the world than love. Humans are not perfect in these three areas. We have a long way to go!

Can you imagine what this world would be like if our culture actually chose to be driven by the pursuit of God and striving to be like God (at least as much as possible)? Jesus revealed the nature of God to mankind. If one wants to know what God is like, then look at the person of Jesus! Consider the following:

John 14:8-9

Philip said, “Lord, show us the Father and that will be enough for us.” Jesus answered: “Don’t you know me, Philip, even after I have been among you such a long time? Anyone who has seen me has seen the Father. How can you say, ‘Show us the Father’?

Hebrews 1

In the past God spoke to our ancestors through the prophets at many times and in various ways, but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed heir of all things, and through whom also he made the universe. The Son is the radiance of God’s glory and the exact representation of his being…

That is to say, God is a perfectly loving being. Jesus went on to tell us that we ought to be as loving as God. We should strive to be like God and we can accomplish this when we choose to love God first and love all people (from our neighbors to our enemies). When one chooses to live a life of love, then we approximate to God; we pursue the perfect!

Consider the words of Jesus in the final verse of the fifth chapter of the Gospel of Matthew summarizing Jesus’ earlier teachings:

Matthew 5:48

Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect.

Can you imagine what this world would be like if everyone actually followed the commands of Jesus — a world in which everyone loved everyone? That sounds like heaven to me. Perhaps Jesus was on to something!

I believe it is good to pursue perfection in all aspects of life. We ought to try and learn as much as possible, we ought to try and become as physically fit as possible, and we ought to try and love all people. We will always fail at being perfect in all of these areas, but we are called to do our best while striving for perfection. I am thankful that God does not expect us to be perfect as only He is perfect. Jesus simply asks us to love and follow “The Perfect” (God) and to do all things for His glory!

1 Corinthians 10:31

Whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God.

My next pistol shooting competition is coming soon. I have no delusions of grandeur thinking that I have any shot (no pun intended) of winning. In fact, the odds are high that I might get last place as I am just a rookie.

Not looking at the target is a rookie mistake! 😉

That’s cool though, because no one expects me to be perfect! People are excited to watch me improve and to see me have fun in the process. That is the same way I look at my walk with Jesus. He does not expect perfection, but He has called me to strive to be perfect and to pursue perfection — even though He knows I will be anything but perfect.

I love God’s grace! I pray that He uses me for His glory and that I have a lot of fun in the process. I pray the same for you too! So, keep pursuing perfection! You will never attain perfection on this side of eternity, but the pursuit gets you closer than you ever would have been otherwise. The journey is rewarding!

In pursuit of The Perfect,

Tim Stratton

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About the Author

Tim

Stratton

(The FreeThinking Theist)

Tim pursued his undergraduate studies at the University of Nebraska-Kearney (B.A. 1997) and after working in full-time ministry for several years went on to attain his graduate degree from Biola University (M.A. 2014). Tim was recently accepted at North West University to pursue his Ph.D. in systematic theology with a focus on metaphysics.

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