Paul the apostle in the first book of Corinthians, chapter 13, verse 10, declares, ‘But when that which is perfect has come, then that which is in part will be done away.’ This statement is within a dialogue about the gifts of faith, hope and love, where the writer explains that love is the greatest of the three.
That ‘which is perfect’ refers to the second coming of Christ, when Christians will be perfected, and the fullest understanding and experience of Christ’s love will be known by them.
That ‘which is in part’ is the imperfection of the present age, where Christ’s love is known in some measure, but not in the fullest sense; therefore, for the Christian, perfection will be achieved on that blessed day when Christ returns to the earth for His saints. Meanwhile, there is no perfection here on the earth, which is subject to decay, as a result of the curse placed upon it by God. (Genesis 3:17-19)
What bearing does this have on our lives? Well, it affects us at all times. We strive for perfection, but we are bound never to achieve it. Frightening, isn’t it? Just imagine, when we travel by car, aeroplane or boat, none of these means of transport is perfect, and yet we have faith in them. Fortunately, more often than not, they do function safely, enabling us to reach our destination - despite their imperfections.
When I am engaged in building a boat for my own pleasure and satisfaction I always strive for perfection, and yet I know I can never achieve it. There have been times of disappointment, because I did not reach the standard I desired. On the other hand, although I did not attain complete perfection, what I did achieve was a higher standard than I would have obtained had I not striven for perfection. If I had set a lower standard, I’m sure I would have fallen below it, which would never have given me satisfaction.
By always striving for the best possible standards in all that I do, I create for myself opportunities for satisfaction - although the result of my efforts inevitably fall short of perfection; therefore the boat I am building will not be perfect, but there is the possibility that I may derive satisfaction from her.