Some of the most daunting words found in Scripture are in Matthew 5:48 where Jesus declares, "Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect." (some verses just sound more commanding in the King James!) I love the clarification in the second half of this verse, just in case we try and explain away the meaning of perfection, Jesus makes His command undeniably clear.
In an article by Chris Haft for MLB.com, he writes about Matt Cain's historic day on June 13 of this week, "Cain pitched the first perfect game in the Giant's rich, 130-year history, a 10-0 decision over the Houston Astros...the 22nd perfect game in Major League history by striking out 14 batters, matching Sandy Koufax's total against the the Chicago Cubs on September 9, 1965..."
The definition of a perfect game is not arbitrary. Perfection is not subjective. In baseball, no batter can achieve getting on base, not by a hit, walk, hit batter, error, etc. Three batters every inning retired in at least nine consecutive innings. Any perfect game is dazzling, but when that perfect game is achieved by one pitcher without any relief, that is exceptional. That is most recently, Matt Cain.
Just as every pitcher is in search of a perfect game, should we be in search of a perfect day? I know we can never be continually perfect; humanity precludes the possibility of sustained perfection. That is why we are so desperately dependent upon Jesus' grace and forgiveness. While He has only and always been perfect, since in heaven before earth, also His days here in history, and now forevermore as He reigns supreme at the right hand of God, we however will forever be susceptible to selfishness.
But can we have a perfect day? Can there be just one day where from the time we awake to the time we rest again, not one misstep through omission or commission? That in a day, we do everything that God expects and successfully fail to do everything He chagrins.
I don't believe that a perfect day is possible. But I do know that if I ever give up trying, I cheapen grace by letting Christ's perfect forgiveness become my justification for living less. I strive not because I doubt grace but because I want to honor grace. I strive not because I believe I will ever see a perfect "nine inning" day but because I want to fulfill my admittedly limited potential. I strive not because I have an over-exaggerated sense of self-sufficiency but because I am convinced that complete God-dependency produces the fruit of righteousness.
So this is my prayer, "God, help me today to live in such a way that I have only one errant pitch."
Living In The Gap!