A couple of days ago, I was disappointed by a comment made by Happy - and told him so! He responded: "Sorry C.B. As you can see, I am not perfect yet. But the good news is God is still working on me!"
What a refreshing reply! He is, of course, absolutely correct - and not only with regard to himself! In spite of the claims of some - particularly high-powered American speakers - there is no such thing as 'sinless perfection' while we reside in our mortal bodies. John makes this abundantly clear: "If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. ... If we say we have not sinned, we make Him a liar, and His word is not in us." (I John 1:8,10).
It is said that, one day, Michelangelo entered his studio to examine the work of his students. As he came to the work of one particular student, he looked at it for a long time. Then, taking a brush, he wrote a single word across the canvas - "amplius"! The word meant 'larger'. The master-painter was not rejecting the work of his student for it exhibited great skill, and was as good as could be expected at that stage of his training. However, the small size of the canvas made his design appear cramped. It needed to be expanded.
Often, the Lord may have to write 'amplius' across the lives of many of His disciples. Our spiritual outlook becomes confined; our vision of what God wants to do, in and through us, is restricted by our limited spiritual growth. The Lord is aware of the progress that we have made - but He encourages us to keep expanding our horizons. He wants to increase the dimensions of our spiritual lives; widen our outreach; strengthen our witness. He's not finished with us yet; each of us is "a work in progress"!
Writing to the believers in Philippi, Paul gave them this encouragement: "... it is my prayer that your love may abound more and more, with knowledge and all discernment, so that you may approve what is excellent, and may be pure and blameless for the day of Christ, filled with the fruits of righteousness which come through Jesus Christ, to the glory and praise of God." (Phil 1:9-11). He knew that they were "works in progress", but he wanted them to 'keep on keeping on' that theyu might bring praise and glory to Father God.
So, "... let us run with perseverance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus the pioneer and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God." (Heb 12:1-2).