Preface and Prayer

If any one takes up this little volume with the idea of finding a theory of Perfection expounded or vindicated, he will be disappointed. My object has been a very different one. What I have wished to do is to go with my reader through the Word of God, noting the principal passages in which the word “Perfect” occurs, and seeking in each case from the context to find what the impression is the word was meant to convey. It is only when we have yielded ourselves simply and prayerfully to allow the words of Scripture to have their full force, that we are on the right track for combining the different aspects of truth into one harmonious whole.

Among the thoughts which have specially been brought home to me in these meditations, and in which I trust I may secure the assent of my reader, the following are the chief:

1. There is a Perfection of which Scripture speaks as possible and attainable. There may be, there is, great diversity of opinion as to how the term is to be defined. But there can be only one opinion as to the fact that God asks and expects His children to be perfect with Him; that He promises it as His own work; and that Scripture speaks of some as having been perfect before Him, and having served Him with a perfect heart. Scripture speaks of a Perfection that is at once our duty and our hope.

2. To know what this Perfection is we must begin by accepting the command, and obeying it with our whole heart. Our natural tendency is the very opposite. We want to discuss and define what Perfection is, to understand how the command can be reconciled with our assured conviction that no man is perfect, to provide for all the dangers we are sure are to be found in the path of Perfection.

This is not God’s way. Jesus said, “If any man will do, he will know.” The same principle holds good in all human attainment. It is only he who has accepted the command, “Be perfect,” in adoring submission and obedience, who can hope to know what the Perfection is that God asks and gives. Until the Church is seen prostrate before God, seeking this blessing as her highest good, it will be no wonder if the very word “Perfection,” instead of being an attraction and a joy, is a cause of apprehension and anxiety, of division and offence. May God increase the number of those who, in childlike humility, take the word from His own lips, as a living seed, in the assurance that it will bring forth much fruit.

3. Perfection is no arbitrary demand; in the very nature of things God can ask nothing less. And this is true whether we think of Him or of ourselves.

If we think of Him, who as God has created the universe for Himself and for His glory, who seeks and alone is able to fill it with His happiness and love, we see how impossible it is for God to allow anything else to share man’s heart with Himself. God must be all and have all. As Lawgiver and Judge; He dare not be content with anything less than absolute legal perfection. As Redeemer and Father it equally becomes Him to claim nothing less than a real childlike perfection. God must have it all.

If we think of ourselves, the call to perfection is no less imperative. God is such an Infinite, Spiritual Good, and the soul is so incapable of receiving or knowing or enjoying Him except as it gives itself wholly to Him, that for our own sakes God’s love can demand of us nothing less than a perfect heart.

4. Perfection, as the highest aim of what God in His great power would do for us, is something so Divine, Spiritual, and Heavenly, that it is only the soul that yields itself very tenderly to the leading of the Holy Spirit that can hope to know its blessedness.

God has worked into every human heart a deep desire for perfection. That desire is manifested in the admiration which all men have for excellence in the different objects or pursuits to which they attach value. In the believer who yields himself wholly to God, this desire fastens itself upon God’s wonderful promises, and inspires a prayer like that of M’Cheyne: “Lord, make me as holy as a pardoned sinner can be made.”

The more we learn to desire this full conformity to God’s will, for the consciousness that we are always pleasing to Him, we will see that all this must come as a gift direct from heaven. This gift is the full outbirth in us of the life of God, the inbreathing of the Holy Spirit of Jesus in those who are wholly yielded to His indwelling and rule. Trusting ever less to men’s thoughts and teachings, we will retire often into the secret of God’s presence, in the assurance that the more we see God’s face, and hear the secret voice that comes direct from Him, “BE PERFECT,” the more will the Holy Spirit dwelling within us unfold the heavenly fulness and power of the words, and make them, as God’s words, bring and give and create the very thing He speaks.

In the hope that these simple meditations may help some of God’s children to go on to Perfection, I commit them and myself to the Blessed Father’s teaching and keeping.


Ever BLESSED FATHER! You have sent me a message by Your Beloved Son that I am to be perfect as You are perfect. Coming from You, O You incomprehensible and most glorious God, it means more than man can grasp. Coming to You, I ask that You will Yourself teach me what it means, create in me what it claims, give me what it promises.

My Father! I accept the word in the obedience of faith. I will yield my life to its rule. I will hide it in my heart as a living seed, in the assurance that there, deeper than thought or feeling, Your Holy Spirit can make it strike root and grow up.

And as I go through Your Word, to meditate on what it says of the path of the perfect, teach me, O my Father, to bring every thought of mine captive to the obedience of Christ, and to wait for that teaching of Your Holy Spirit which is so sure to the upright in heart. In Him, with whom You have sent me the message, give me the answer to this prayer also. Amen.

Day 1 – A Perfect Heart makes a Perfect Man

“Noah was a righteous man, and perfect in his generation, and Noah walked with God.” Gen. 6:9.

“And the Lord said unto Satan, Have you considered My servant Job, that there is none like him in the earth, a perfect and an upright man, one that fears God and shuns evil?” Job 1: 8.

“The heart of David was perfect with the Lord his God.” 1Kings 11: 4, 15: 3.

“Asa’s heart was perfect with the Lord all his days.” 1 Kings 15: 14.

We have grouped together four men, of all of whom Holy Scripture testifies that they were perfect men, or that their heart was perfect with God. Of each of them Scripture testifies, too, that they were not perfect in the sense of absolute sinlessness. We know how Noah fell. We know how Job had to humble himself before God. We know how sadly David sinned. And of Asa we read that there came a time when he did foolishly, and relied on the Syrians and not on the Lord his God; when in his disease he sought not to the Lord, but to the physicians. And yet the heart of these men was perfect with the Lord their God.

To understand this, there is one thing we must remember. The meaning of the word “perfect” must in each case be decided by that particular stage in God’s education of His people in which it is used. What a father or a teacher counts perfection in a child of ten, is very different from what he would call so in one of twenty. As to the disposition or spirit, the perfection would be the same; in its contents, as the proofs by which it was to be judged of, there would be a wide difference. We shall see later on how in the Old Testament nothing was really made perfect; how Christ has come to reveal, and work out, and impart the true perfection; how the perfection, as revealed in the New Testament, is something infinitely higher, more spiritual and efficacious, than under the old economy. And yet at root they are one. God looks at the heart. A heart that is perfect with Him is an object of complacency and approval. A wholehearted consecration to His will and fellowship, a life that takes as its motto, WHOLLY FOR GOD, has in all ages, even where the Spirit had not yet been given to dwell in the heart, been accepted by Him as the mark of the perfect man.

The lesson which these Scripture testimonies suggest to us is a very simple, but a very searching one. In God’s record of the lives of His servants there are some of whom it is written: his heart was perfect with the Lord his God. Is this, let each reader ask, what God sees and says of me? Does my life, in the sight of God, bear the mark of intense, wholehearted consecration to God’s will and service? of a burning desire to be as perfect as it is possible for grace to make me? Let us yield ourselves to the searching light of this question. Let us believe that with this word PERFECT, God means something very real and true. Let us not evade its force, or hide ourselves from its condemning power, by the vain subterfuge that we do not fully know what it means. We must first accept it, and give up our lives to it, before we can understand it. It cannot be insisted upon too strongly that, whether in the Church at large and its teaching, or in the life of the individual believer, there can be no hope of comprehending what perfection is except as we count all things loss to be apprehended of it, to live for it, to accept of it, to possess it.

But so much we can understand. What I do with a perfect heart I do with love and delight, with a willing mind and all my strength. It implies a fixity of purpose, and a concentration of effort, that makes everything subordinate to the one object of my choice. This is what God asks, what His saints have given, what we must give.

Again I say to every one who wishes to join me in following through the Word of God its revelation of His will concerning perfection, yield yourself to the searching question: Can God say of me as of Noah and Job, of David and Asa, that my heart is perfect with the Lord my God? Have I given myself up to say that there must be nothing, nothing whatever, to share my heart with God and His will? Is a heart perfect with the Lord my God the object of my desire, my prayer, my faith, my hope? Whether it has been so or not, let it be so today. Make the promise of God’s word your own: “The God of peace Himself perfect you.” The God, who is of power to do above all we ask or think, will open up to you the blessed prospect of a life of which He shall say: “His heart was perfect with the Lord his God.”

Day 2 – Walk Before Me, and be Perfect

“And when Abram was ninety-nine years old, the Lord appeared to Abram, and said to him, I am Almighty God: walk before Me, and be perfect. And I will make My covenant between Me and you, and will multiply you exceedingly. And Abram fell on his face: and God talked with him.” Gen. 17: 1-3.

“You shall be perfect with the Lord your God.” Deut. 18: 13.

“Let your heart be perfect with the Lord your God to walk in His statutes.” 1 Kings 8: 61.

It was now twenty-four years since God had called Abram to go out from his father’s home, and that he had obeyed. All that time he had been a learner in the school of faith. The time was approaching for him to inherit the promise, and God comes to establish His covenant with him. In view of this, God meets him with this threefold word: I am Almighty God: walk before Me: be perfect.

Be perfect. The connection in which we find the word will help us to understand its meaning. God reveals Himself as God Almighty. Abram’s faith had long been tried: it was about to achieve one of its greatest triumphs: faith was to be changed to vision in the birth of Isaac. God invites Abram more than ever to remember, and to rest upon, His omnipotence. He is Almighty God: all things are possible to Him: He holds rule over all. All His power is working for those who trust Him. And all He asks of His servant is that he be perfect with Him: give Him his whole heart, his perfect confidence. God Almighty with all His power is wholly for you; be wholly for God. The knowledge and faith of what God is lies at the root of what we are to be: “I am Almighty God: be perfect.” As I know Him whose power fills heaven and earth, I see that this is the one thing needed: to be perfect with Him, wholly and entirely given up to Him. WHOLLY FOR GOD is the keynote of perfection.

Walk before Me, and be perfect. It is in the life fellowship with God, in His realized presence and favor, that it becomes possible to be perfect with Him. Walk before Me Abraham had been doing this; God’s word calls him to a clearer and more conscious apprehension of this as his life calling. It is easy for us to study what Scripture says of perfection, to form our ideas of it, and argue for them. But let us remember that it is only as we are walking closely with God, seeking and in some measure attaining, uninterrupted communion with Him, that the Divine command will come to us in its Divine Power, and unfold to us its Divine meaning. Walk before Me, and be perfect. God’s realized presence is the school, is the secret, of perfection. It is only he who studies what perfection is in the full light of God’s presence to whom its hidden glory will be opened up.

That realized presence is the great blessing of the redemption in Jesus Christ. The veil has been rent, the way into the true sanctuary, the Presence of God, has been opened; we have access with boldness into the Holiest of all. God, who has proved Himself God Almighty in raising Jesus from the dead and setting Him, and us in Him, at His right hand, speaks now to us: I am God Almighty: walk before Me, and be perfect.

That command came not only to Abraham. Moses gave it to the whole people of Israel; “You shall be perfect with the Lord your God.” It is for all Abraham’s children; for all the Israel of God; for every believer. Oh! think not that ere you can obey you must first understand and define what perfection means. No, God’s way is the very opposite of this. Abraham went out, not knowing where he went. You are called to go on to perfection: go out, not knowing where you are going. It is a land God will show you. Let your heart be filled with His glory: I am God Almighty. Let your life be spent in His presence: walk before Me. As His Power and His Presence rest upon you and fill you, your heart will, before you know, be drawn up, and strengthened to accept and rejoice in and fulfil the command: be perfect. As surely as the opening bud has but to abide in the light of the sun to attain perfection, will the soul that walks in the light of God be perfect too. As the God, who is ALL, shines upon it, it cannot but rejoice to give Him ALL.

Day 3 – Perfect with the Lord Your God

“You shall be perfect with the Lord your God.” Deut. 18: 13.

To be perfect before God is not only the calling and the privilege of a man like Abraham, it is equally the duty of all his children. The command is given to all Israel, for each man of God’s people to receive and obey: “You shall be perfect with the Lord your God.” It comes to each child of God; no one professing to be a Christian may turn aside from it, or refuse it obedience, without endangering his salvation. It is not a command like, “You shall not kill,” or, “You shall not steal,” having reference to a limited sphere in our life, but is a principle that lies at the very root of all true religion. If our service of God is to be acceptable, it must not be with a divided, but a whole, a perfect heart.

The chief hindrance in the way of obedience to this command lies in our misapprehension of what religion is. Man was created simply to live for God, to show forth His glory, by allowing God to show how completely He could reveal His likeness and blessedness in man. God lives for man; longing in the greatness of His love to communicate His goodness and His love. It was to this life, lost by sin, Christ came to redeem us back. The selfishness of the human heart looks upon salvation as simply the escape from hell, with so much of holiness as is needed to make our happiness secure. Christ meant us to be restored to the state from which we had fallen — the whole heart, the whole will, the whole life given up to the glory and service of God. To be wholly given up to God, to be perfect with the Lord our God, lies at the very root, is the very essence of true religion. The enthusiastic devotion of the whole heart to God is what is asked of us.

When once this misconception has been removed, and the truth begins to dawn upon the soul, a second hindrance is generally met with in the question of unbelief, How can these things be? Instead of first accepting God’s command,and then waiting in the path of obedience for the teaching of the Spirit, men are at once ready with their own interpretation of the word, and confidently affirm, “it cannot be.” They forget that the whole object of the gospel and the glory of Christ’s redemption is, that it makes possible what is beyond man’s thoughts or powers; and that it reveals God, not as a Lawgiver and Judge, exacting the last penny, but as a Father, who in grace deals with each one according to his capacity, and accepts the devotion and the intention of the heart.

We understand this of an earthly father. A child of ten is doing some little service for the father, or helping him in his work. The work of the child is very defective, and yet the cause of joy and hope to the father, because he sees in it the proof of the child’s attachment and obedience, as well as the pledge of what that spirit will do for the child when his intelligence and his strength have been increased. The child has served the father with a perfect heart, though the perfect heart does not at once imply perfect work. Even so the Father in heaven accepts as a perfect heart the simple childlike purpose that makes His fear and service its one object. The Christian may be deeply humbled at the involuntary uprisings of the evil nature; but God’s Spirit teaches him to say, “It is no more I, but sin that dwells in me.” He may be sorely grieved by the consciousness of shortcoming and failure,but he hears the voice of Jesus, “The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak.” Even as Christ counted the love and obedience of His faithless disciples as such, and accepted it as the condition on which He had promised them the Spirit, the Christian can receive the witness of the Spirit that the Father sees and accepts in him the perfect heart, even where there is not yet the perfect performance.

“You shall be perfect with the Lord your God.” Oh! let us beware of making the Word of God of no effect by our traditions. Let us believe the message, “You are not under the law, but under grace.” Let us realize what grace is in its pitying tenderness: “As a father pities his children, so the Lord pities them that fear Him.” And what, in its mighty power working in us both to will and to do: “The God of all grace shall Himself perfect you.” If we hold fast our integrity, our confidence, and the rejoicing of hope steadfast unto the end, being perfect in heart will lead us on to be perfect in the way, and we will realize that Christ fulfils this too in us, “You shall be perfect with the Lord your God.”

Day 4 – I Have Walked Before You with a Perfect Heart

“Then Hezekiah prayed unto the Lord, saying, ‘I beg You, O Lord, remember now how I have walked before You in truth, and with a perfect heart, and have done that which is good in Your sight.’ And the word of the Lord came to Isaiah, saying, ‘Tell Hezekiah, this is what the Lord says, I have heard your prayer, and seen your tears; I will heal you.'” 2Kings 20: 2-5.

What a childlike simplicity of communication with God. When the Son was about to die, He spoke, “I have glorified You on earth, I have finished the work which You gave Me to do. And now, O Father, You glorify Me.” He pleaded His life and work as the ground for expecting an answer to His prayer. And so Hezekiah, the servant of God, also pleaded, not as a matter of merit, but in the confidence that “God is not unrighteous to forget our work of faith and labor of love,” that God should remember how he had walked before Him with a perfect heart.

The words first of all suggest to us this thought, that the man who walks before God with a perfect heart can know it — it may be a matter of consciousness. Let us look at the testimony Scripture gives of him (2 Kings 18: 3-6), “He did that which was right in the sight of the Lord, according to all that David his father did.” Then follow the different elements of this life that was right in God’s sight. “He trusted in the Lord God of Israel. He held to the Lord. He departed not from following Him. He kept His commandments, which the Lord commanded Moses. And the Lord was with Him.” His life was one of trust and love, of steadfastness and obedience. And the Lord was with him. He was one of the saints of whom we read, “By faith they obtained a good report.” They had the witness that they were righteous, that they were pleasing to God.

Let us seek to have this blessed consciousness. Paul had it when he wrote, “Our glorying is, the testimony of our conscience, that in holiness and sincerity of God, not in fleshly wisdom, but in the grace of God, we behaved ourselves” (2 Cor. 1: 12). John had it when he said, “Beloved, if our heart condemn us not, we have boldness toward God; and whatever we ask we receive, because we keep His commandments, and do the things that are pleasing in His sight” (1 John 3: 21, 22). If we are to have perfect peace and confidence, if we are to walk in the holy boldness and the blessed glorying of which Scripture speaks, we must know that our heart is perfect with God.

Hezekiah’s prayer suggests a second lesson — that the consciousness of a perfect heart gives wonderful power in prayer. Read over again the words of his prayer, and notice how distinctly this walk with a perfect heart is his plea. Read over again the words just quoted from John, and see how clearly he says that “because we keep His commandments we receive what we ask.” It is a heart that does not condemn us, that knows that it is perfect toward God, that gives us boldness.

There is most probably not a single reader of these lines who cannot testify how painfully at some time or other the consciousness of the heart not being perfect with God has hindered confidence and prayer. And mistaken views as to what the perfect heart means, and as to the danger of self-righteousness in praying Hezekiah’s prayer, have in very many cases banished all idea of its ever being possible to attain to that boldness and confident assurance of an answer to prayer which John connects with a heart that does not condemn us. Oh! that we would give up all our prejudices, and learn to take God’s Word as it stands as the only rule of our faith, the only measure of our expectations. Our daily prayers would be a new reminder that God asks the perfect heart; a new occasion of childlike confession as to our walking or not walking with a perfect heart before God; a new motive to make nothing less the standard of our intercourse with our Father in heaven. How our boldness in God’s presence would be ever clearer; how our consciousness of His acceptance would be brighter; how the humbling thought of our nothingness would be quickened, and our assurance of His strength in our weakness, and His answer to our prayer, become the joy of our life.

Oh! the comfort, amid all consciousness of imperfection of attainment, of being able to say, in childlike simplicity, “Remember, O Lord, how I have walked before You with a perfect heart.”

Day 5 – Lord, Give a Perfect Heart

“Give to Solomon my son a perfect heart, to keep Your commandments, Your testimonies, and Your statutes.” 1Chron. 29: 19.

“Let my heart be perfect in Your testimonies.” Ps. 119: 80.

In his parting commission to Solomon, David had laid it upon him to serve God with a perfect heart, because He is God who searches the hearts. It is nothing less than the heart, the whole heart, a perfect heart, that God wants. Very shortly afterwards, in his dedication prayer after the giving of all the material for the temple, he turns again to this as the one thing needful, and asks it for his son as a gift from God. “Give my son Solomon a perfect heart.” The perfect heart is a gift from God, given and received under the laws which rule all His giving, as a hidden seed to be accepted and acted on in faith. The command, “Be perfect,” comes and claims immediate and full submission. Where this submission is yielded, the need of a Divine power to make the heart fit for perfection becomes the motive for urgent and earnest prayer. The word of command, received and hid in a good. and honest heart, becomes itself the seed of a Divine power. God works His grace in us by stirring us to work. So the desire to listen to God’s command, and to serve Him with a perfect heart, is a beginning that God looks to, and that He will Himself strengthen and perfect. The gift of a perfect heart is thus obtained in the way of the obedience of faith. Begin at once to serve God with a perfect heart, and the perfect heart will be given to you.

The perfect heart is a gift from God, to be asked for, to be obtained by prayer. No one will pray for it earnestly, perseveringly, believingly, until he accepts God’s word fully that it is a positive command and an immediate duty to be perfect. Where this has been done, the consciousness will soon grow strong of the utter impossibility of attempting obedience in human strength. And the faith will grow that the word of command was simply meant to draw the soul to Him who gives what He asks.

The perfect heart is a gift to be obtained in prayer. David asked the Lord to give it to his son Solomon, even as he had prayed for himself long before, “Let my heart be perfect in Your testimonies.” Let all of us who desire for this blessing follow his example: let us make it a matter of definite, earnest prayer. Let each son and daughter of God say to the Father: “Give Your child a perfect heart.” Let us in the course of our meditations in this little book turn each word of command, or teaching, or promise into prayer — pointed, personal prayer that asks and claims, that accepts and proves the gift of a perfect heart. And when the seed begins to strike root, and the spirit gives the consciousness that the first beginnings of the perfect heart have been bestowed in the wholehearted purpose to live for God alone, let us hold on in prayer for the perfect heart in all its completeness. A heart perfect in its purpose towards God — this is only the initial stage. Then there comes the putting on of one grace after another — the going, from strength to strength, on to perfection — the putting on, in ever-growing distinctness of likeness, the Lord Jesus, with every trait of His holy image. All this is to be sought and found in prayer too. It is just he who knows most of what it is to be perfect in purpose who will pray most to be perfect in practice too.

In the words of Hezekiah, we see that there are two elements in the perfect heart: the relation to God, and to His commandments. “I have walked before You with a perfect heart, and have done that which is good in Your sight.” David speaks of the second of these in his prayer, “a perfect heart to keep Your commandments.” The two always go together: walking before God, in the awareness of His presence, will ensure walking in His commandments.

“Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and comes from the Father of lights,” the gift of a perfect heart too. “But let us ask in faith, nothing wavering.” Let us be sure that in the believing, adoring worship of God there will be given to the soul that is set upon having it, nothing less than what God Himself means with a perfect heart. Let us pray the prayer boldly, “Lord, give Your child a perfect heart. Let my heart be perfect in Your testimonies.”

Day 6 – God’s Strength for the Perfect in Heart

“Were not the Ethiopians and the Lubims a huge host? Yet, because you relied on the Lord, He delivered them into your hand. For the eyes of the Lord run to and fro throughout the whole earth, to show Himself strong in behalf of them whose heart is perfect toward Him.” 2 Chron. 16: 8, 9.

We have here the same three thoughts we had in God’s words to Abraham. There, it was the command to be perfect in connection with the faith in God’s power and a walk in His Presence. Here, we have the perfect heart spoken of as the condition of the experience of God’s power, and as that which His eyes seek and approve in those who walk in His presence. The words teach us the great lesson of the value of the perfect heart in His sight. It is the one thing He desires. “His eyes run to and fro through the whole earth” to find such. The Father seeks such to worship Him. And when He finds them, then He shows Himself strong in their behalf. It is the one thing that marks the soul as having the capacity of receiving, and showing God’s glory, His strength.

The context proves that the chief mark of the perfect heart is trust in God. “Because you relied on the Lord, He delivered them into your hand. For the eyes of the Lord run to and fro to show Himself strong in behalf of them whose heart is perfect toward Him.” The essence of faith is this, that it gives God His place and glory as God; it allows Him free scope to work, relying on Him alone; it lets God be God. In such faith or reliance the heart proves itself perfect toward God; with no other object of confidence or desire, it depends upon none but Him. As the eyes of God go to and fro throughout the world, wherever He discovers such a man, He delights to prove Himself strong to him, to work for him or in him, as the case may be, according to the riches of the glory of His power.

What precious lessons these words teach us for the Christian’s life. To have God reveal His strength in us, to have Him make us strong for life or work, for doing or for suffering, our heart must be perfect with Him. Let us not shrink from accepting the truth. Let no preconceived opinion as to the impossibility of perfection keep us from allowing the Word of God to have its fulleffect upon us. He shows Himself strong to those whose heart is perfect towards Him. Before we attempt to define exactly, let us first receive the truth that there is such a thing as what God calls a perfect heart, and say it shall be ours. Let us rest contented with nothing short of knowing that the eyes of the Lord have seen that we are wholehearted with Him. Let us not be afraid to say, “With my whole heart, I have sought Thee.”

We saw how the chief mark of this perfect heart is reliance upon God. God looks for men who trust Him fully; in them He will show His power. God is a Being of Infinite and Incomprehensible Glory and Power. Our mind can form no right conception of what He can do for us. Even when we have His word and promises, our human thoughts of what He means are always defective. By nothing do we dishonor God more than by limiting Him. By nothing do we limit Him more than by allowing our human ideas of what He purposes to be the measure of our expectations. The reliance of a heart perfect towards Him is simply this: it yields to Him as God, it rests upon Him, it allows Him, as God, to do in His own way what He has promised. The heart is perfect towards Him in meeting Him with a perfect faith for all that He is and does as God. Faith expects from God what is beyond all expectation.

The Father seeks such. Oh! with what joy He finds them. How He delights in them as His eyes, running to and fro throughout the world, rests upon them to show Himself their strong and mighty Helper! Let us walk before this God with a perfect heart, relying upon Him yet to work in us above all that we can ask or think. The one great need of the spiritual life is to know how entirely it is dependent upon God working in us, and what the exceeding greatness of His power is in us who believe. As the soul knows this, and with a perfect heart yields to this Almighty God to let Him do His work within, oh! how strong He will show Himself in its behalf.

Day 7 – With the Perfect God shows Himself Perfect

“I was also perfect with Him, and I kept myself from my iniquity.”
“To the perfect man, You will show Yourself perfect.”
“As for God, His way is perfect.”
“He is a shield to them that trust Him.”
“It is God who arms me with strength and makes my way perfect.”
Ps. 18: 23, 25, 30, 32.

“As for God, His way is perfect.” In all He does, and all He is God is the perfection of goodness and beauty. In nature and grace, in heaven and on earth, in the greatest and the least, everything that is in God and of God, down to the very hem of His garment, is infinite perfection. If men who study and admire the perfection of His works, if saints who love and seek the perfection of His service and fellowship, but understood it, they would see that here alone perfection can be truly known and found –in God Himself. As for God — this is the highest we can say of Him, though we can comprehend but little of it — As for God, His way is perfect.

“He makes my way perfect.” Of God’s perfection this is the chief excellence — that He does not keep it for Himself: heaven and earth are full of His glory. God is Love; who lives, not for Himself, but in the energy of an infinite life, makes His creatures, as far as they can possibly receive it, partakers of His perfection. It is His delight to perfect all around Him. And especially the soul of man that rises up to Him. Between His servant and Himself, God would have perfect harmony. The Father wants the child to be like Himself. The more I learn in adoring worship to say, “As for God, His way is perfect,” the sooner I will have faith and grace with the Psalmist to say, “He makes my way perfect.”

As we believe this, that is, receive the heavenly truth in these words into our inmost being and assimilate it, we shall not wonder that the same man also said, “I was also perfect with Him, and kept myself from my iniquity.” “The God that arms me with strength, and makes my way perfect,” His alone is the power and the honor and the glory of what He has created. This makes the confession, “I was also perfect with Him,” so far from being presumption or self-righteousness, nothing but an ascription of praise to Him to whom it is due.

And then follow the words in which the perfection of God and that of man are seen in their wonderful relationship and harmony: “With the perfect man, You will show Yourself perfect.” As little as there can be a ray of the light of day, however dull and clouded it be, but what speaks of the sun, so little can there be any perfection but what is of God. In its feeblest beginnings in a soul, in its darkest and almost hopeless strugglings, it is all God’s perfection wrestling with man to break through and get possession. As long as man refuses to consent, God cannot make His perfection known, for God must be to us what we are to Him: “With the warped, You show Yourself twisted.” But where man’s will consents, and his heart chooses this perfection and this perfect God as its portion, God meets the soul with ever larger manifestation of how perfect He is towards His own. “With the perfect man You will show Yourself perfect.”

Christian! walk before God with a perfect heart, and you will experience how perfect the heart, and the love, and the will of God to bless, is towards you. Of a heart perfectly yielded to Him, God will take perfect possession. Walk before God in a perfect way — it is God who makes my way perfect — and your eyes and heart will be opened to see, in adoring wonder, how perfect God’s way is with you and for you. Do take mightily hold of this word as the law of God’s revelation of Himself: “With the perfect man, You will show Yourself perfect.” To a soul perfectly devoted to Him, God will wonderfully reveal Himself. Turn with your whole heart and life, your whole trust and obedience, towards God — walk before Him with a perfect heart — and He will show Himself perfect to you, the God whose way is perfect and makes your way perfect, the God who perfects you in every good thing. Meet God with your, “With my whole heart I have sought You”; He will answer you with His, “Yes, I will rejoice over you to do you good, with my whole heart and with my whole soul.” Oh! say it in faith, and hope, and joy, “With the perfect man You will show Yourself perfect.”

Day 8 – Perfect in Heart Leads to Perfect in the Way


“Blessed are they that are perfect in the way, who walk in the law of the Lord. Blessed are they that keep His testimonies, that seek Him with the whole heart.” Ps. 119: 1, 2.

“Let my heart be perfect in Thy testimonies.” Ps. 119: 80.

“I will behave myself wisely in a perfect way. Oh! when will You come to me? I will walk within my house with a perfect heart.” Ps. 101: 2.

We have seen what Scripture says of the perfect heart: here it speaks of the perfect walk. “Blessed are the perfect in the way, who walk in the law of the Lord.” These are the opening words of the beautiful psalm, in which there is given to us the picture, from the witness of personal experience, of the wonderful blessedness of a life in the law and the will of God. As he looks back upon the past, the Psalmist does not hesitate to claim that he has kept that law: “I have kept Your testimonies;” ” I have conformed to Your law;” “I did not desert Your standards ;” “I have not strayed from Your judgments;” “I have done judgment and justice;” “I have not swerved from Your testimonies;” “I have done Your commandments;” “My soul has conformed to Your declarations.” Of a truth may the man who can look up to God and, in simplicity of soul, speak thus, say, “How blessed are the perfect in the way!”

What is meant by this being “perfect in the way” becomes plain as we study the psalm. Perfection includes two elements. The one is the perfection of heart, the earnestness of purpose, with which a man gives himself up to seek God and His will. The other, the perfection of obedience, in which a man seeks, not only to do some, but all the commandments of his God, and rests content with nothing less than the New Testament privilege of “standing perfect in all the will of God.” Of both, the Psalmist speaks with great confidence. Hear how he testifies of the former in words such as these: “Blessed are they that seek Him with the whole heart ;” “With my whole heart I have sought You;” “With my whole heart, I will conform to Your law;” “I will keep Your standards with my whole heart;” “Your standards are my delight;” “O, how I love Your standards!” “Consider how I love Your standards;” “I love them exceedingly.” This is indeed the perfect heart of which we have already heard. The whole psalm is a prayer, and an appeal to God Himself to consider and see how His servant in wholehearted simplicity has chosen God and His standard as his only portion.

We have more than once said that in this wholeheartedness, in the perfect heart, we have the root of all perfection.

But it is only the root and beginning: there is another element that may not be lacking. God is to be found in His will; he who would truly find and fully enjoy God, must meet Him in all His will. This is not always understood. A man may have his heart intent on serving God perfectly, and yet may be unconscious how very imperfect his knowledge of God’s will is. The very earnestness of his purpose, and his consciousness of integrity towards God, may deceive him. As far as he knows, he does God’s will. But he forgets how much there is of that blessed will that he does not yet know. He can learn a very blessed lesson from the writer of our psalm.

Hear how he speaks: “I have refrained my feet from every evil way;” “I hate every false way;” “I esteem all Your standards concerning all things to be right.” It is this surrender to a life of entire and perfect obedience that explains at once the need he felt of Divine teaching, and the confidence with which he pleaded for it and expected it: “Let my heart be perfect in Your testimonies.” The soul that longs for nothing less than to be perfect in the way, and in deep consciousness of its need of a Divine teaching pleads for it, will not be disappointed.

In our next meditation we pass on to the New Testament. In the Old we have the time of preparation, the awakening of the spirit of holy expectancy, waiting God’s fulfilment of His promises. In the Old the perfect heart was the receptacle, emptied and cleansed for God’s filling. In the New we will find Christ perfected forevermore, perfecting us, and fitting us to walk perfect in Him. In the New the word that looks at the human side, perfect in heart, disappears, to give place to that which reveals the Divine filling that awaits the prepared vessel: Perfect Love; God’s love perfected in us.

“Blessed are the perfect in the way!” We have heard the testimony of an Old Testament saint, and is it not written of New Testament times, “He that is feeble shall be as David”? Surely now, in the fulness of time, when Jesus our High Priest in the power of an endless life saves completely, and the Holy Spirit has come out of God’s heaven to dwell within us and be our life, surely now there need not be one word of the psalm that is not meant to be literal truth in the mouth of every believer. Let us read it once more. Speaking it word for word before God, as its writer did, we too shall begin to sing, “Blessed are the perfect in the way, that seek Him with their whole heart.”

“I will behave myself wisely in a perfect way. Oh! when will You come to me! I will walk within my house with a perfect heart.”

Day 9 – Perfect as the Father

“For this reason you will be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect.” Matt. 5: 48.

Perfect before God, perfect with God, perfect towards God: these are the expressions we find in the Old Testament. They all indicate a relationship: the choice or purpose of the heart set upon God, the wholehearted desire to trust and obey Him. The first word of the New Testament at once lifts us to a very different level, and opens to us what Christ has brought for us. Not only perfect towards God, but perfect as God; this is the wonderful prospect it holds out to us. It reveals the infinite fulness of meaning the word perfect has in God’s mind. It gives us at once the only standard we are to aim at and to judge by. It casts down all hopes of perfection as a human attainment; but awakens hope in Him who, as God, has the power, as Father has the will, to make us like Himself.

A young child may be the perfect image of his father. There may be a great difference in age, in stature, in power, and yet the resemblance may be so striking that every one notices it. And so a child of God, though infinitely less, may yet bear the image of the Father so markedly, may have such a striking likeness to his Father, that in his creaturely life he will be perfect ,as the Father is in His Divine life. This is possible. It is what Jesus here commands. It is what each one should aim at. “Perfect as your Father in heaven is perfect,” must become one of the first articles of our creed, one of the guiding lights of our Christian life.

Wherein this perfection of the Father consists is evident from the context: “Love your enemies, that you may be sons of your Father which is in heaven; for He makes His sun to shine on the evil and the good: Be therefore perfect, as your Father in heaven is perfect.” Or as it is in Luke 6: 36: “Be merciful, even as your Father is merciful.” The perfection of God is His love; His will to communicate His own blessedness to all around Him. His compassion and mercy are the glory of His being. He created us in His image and after His likeness, to find our glory in a life of love and mercy and beneficence. It is in love we are to be perfect, even as our Father is perfect.

The thought that comes up at once, and that ever returns again, is this: But is it possible? And if so, how? Certainly not as a fruit of man’s efforts. But the words themselves contain the answer: “perfect as your Father is perfect.” It is because the little child has received his life from his father, and because the father watches over his training and development, that there can be such a striking and ever-increasing resemblance between him in his feebleness and his father in his strength. It is because the sons of God are partakers of the Divine nature, have God’s life, and spirit, and love within them, that the command is reasonable, and its obedience in ever-increasing measure possible: Be perfect, as your Father is. The perfection is our Father’s: we have its seed in us; He delights to give the increase. The words that first appear to cast us down in utter helplessness now become our hope and strength. Be perfect, as your Father is perfect. Claim your child’s heritage; give up yourself to be wholly a son of God; yield yourself to the Father to do in you all He is able.

And then, remember too, who it is gives this message from the Father. It is the Son, who Himself was, by the Father, perfected through suffering; who learned obedience and was made perfect; and who has perfected us forever. The message, “Be perfect,” comes to us from Him, our elder Brother, as a promise of infinite hope. What Jesus asks of us, the Father gives. What Jesus speaks, He does. To “present every man perfect in Christ Jesus,” is the one aim of Christ and His gospel. Let us accept the command from Him; in yielding ourselves to obey it, let us yield ourselves to Him: let our expectation be from Him in whom we have been perfected. Through faith in Him we receive the Holy Ghost, by whom the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts. Through faith in Him, that love becomes in us a fountain of love springing up without ceasing. In union with Him, the love of God is perfected in us, and we are perfected in love. Let us not fear to accept and obey the command, “Be perfect, as your Father is perfect.”