I’m not the biggest football fan, but I do love watching the champions compete in the playoffs and ultimately the Super Bowl, which is coming up next week. The New England Patriots will be up against the New York giants, once again, just as in 2008. Back then, I remember hearing a sportscaster announce a few days before the game that the New England Patriots had had a “perfect season.” They’d become the first NFL team to finish with a 16-0 record in the regular season – they hadn’t lost a single game (www.reuters.com/article/idUSGOR01951620071230). God used that announcement to get my attention and reminded me of a scripture I’d read a million times, but had always stumbled over.
Most of us are familiar with Matthew chapter 5 (The Beatitudes, The Sermon On the Mount) but the very last verse of that chapter says something that always puzzled me. It says, “Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect.” The Greek word used there for perfect is “teleios” which means – perfect, full-grown, mature. But being perfect as God is perfect never seemed possible. How could He expect perfection from anyone? After all, we’re so obviously. . . imperfect. But then He reminded me of another scripture in Romans 8:37 that says, “No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us.”
The New England Patriots made history that year by being the first NFL team to pull off a perfect season, but God has a perfect season EVERY year! And because He does, so can we! We’ve been given the ability to “MORE than conquer” in every season of our lives, and over time there’s a maturity that comes in our walk with Him. The Patriots practiced and practiced, played and believed until they had gained victory over the entire season – one game at a time. In a similar way, God is teaching and testing and perfecting us to win every battle we’re ever faced with. Every season of life holds challenges that we must face for the perfecting of our faith. And every season we are given the ability to MORE than conquer, more than overcome, by God’s power within us. So be encouraged in this New Year. It’s a new season. Dare to “be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect!” Trust in Him to make you a champion.