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Matthew 19:21 (NIV)

If you want to be perfect, go, sell your possessions.

As a young Christian, I remember living in rags, giving away most of my income just to be perfect. Only later did I realize that my quest was to be perfect like Jesus, but without Jesus. In other words, I sought perfection to feel good about myself, not necessarily to obey the Lord. This is not to despise those who sold everything they had to become missionaries or ministers. However, if our ambition is to be perfect like Christ, without being in Him, it will certainly not glorify God. We must realize that there is no virtue in poverty or prosperity but only in Christ. The Apostle Paul knew what it was to have plenty and what it was to be in need (Philippians 4:12). There is a phase of discipleship when we do give everything we have (Matthew 19:27). But the result is communion with the Lord which always ends in blessing (Luke 18:28-29). Self-deprecation just to be perfect like Christ does not always end in love (1 Corinthians 13:1). Only obedience to God and enduring the discipleship training results in blessings in this life and, eventually, eternal life (Matthew 19:29).

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