I like to cook. Sometimes I follow a recipe but I often like to make something from what I have on hand. If I use the right ingredients, it does not matter whether it is my recipe or someone else’s. The perfect dish is a combination of ingredients that blend together well, tastes good and brings nourishment to our bodies.
I may mix up those good ingredients, however, and not finish the task. If I never put them in the oven and bake the dish, it is not completed – no matter how perfect the ingredients are.
For instance, I love to cook breads. Sourdough biscuits are my favorite. I take great care to always have the right (perfect) ingredients on hand so that I may cook them at any time. When I am ready to fix these biscuits, I put together a combination of flour, baking powder, salt, baking soda, oil and sourdough starter in a bowl. Those are the perfect ingredients. I didn’t make those ingredients. I just use them.
If I leave that mixture in the bowl on the counter, we will never have biscuits for breakfast. In fact, it would at some point become a smelly mess. I must put it in the oven to complete the process. Only then are my biscuits perfect AND complete.
I’m not sure if that’s exactly what God meant when He talked about the process of perfection and completion in us, but I think it might be a little like that.
The ingredients God provides for us are perfect. Those are the resources He makes available to us: salvation through His Son Jesus, mixed with the guidance and gifts of His Holy Spirit along with the blessings and trials we need in order to complete our walk with Him. Throughout our lives, we must be faithful and patient to use these resources wisely. If we do, the result of His perfect work in us will enable us to stand “perfect and complete” before Him.
My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience. But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing (James 1:2-4). Epaphras, who is one of you, a bondservant of Christ, greets you, always laboring fervently for you in prayers, that you may stand perfect and complete in all the will of God (Colossians 4:12).