Matthew 5:1-10 is the well-known Sermon on the Mount. What Jesus taught the crowds that day while seated on the hillside, is also known as the Beatitudes. However, when I read a little further along in this chapter, I see in Matthew 5:48 that Jesus tells me I have to be perfect. (Huh?) Is this possible? Absolutely. With complete modesty and humility I need to strive to be like Jesus. He is perfect and while I will never attain that complete perfection, I still need to aim for it every day.
Our spiritual lives are energized as we remind ourselves of the two facets of faith in Christ: a higher standard for our behaviour and a richer mercy [grace] for our failures. Neglecting either can lead to spiritual weakness and discouragement. We can become careless through forgetting the higher standard. We can become oppressed by our failures, losing sight of God's forgiveness through Christ.
As a believer, I have to ask myself this question: which facet of faith am I most comfortable with? What do I need to learn from the other. Cultivating a balanced view of both aspects will prepare my heart for further spiritual growth.