Whenever I see perfect accomplishments in people – or near perfection in people – I respond emotionally in my heart. Many times it will bring tears to my eyes. I’m not ashamed to tell you that. Whenever I see someone display perfection in their skill or talent or giftedness, it touches me to the very core of my being. It could be an Olympic figure skater doing all the difficult triple axels and triple lutz and salchow to absolute perfection… or stories of athletes overcoming great adversity… or stories of regular people rising to overcome incredible physical, mental or emotional handicaps or disadvantages… or people conquering long-term effects of terrible addictions or PTSD or rape or abuse… or people showing acts of love that go above and beyond to show deep compassion and caring. People who have spent a life-time to reach the pinnacle of expertise – that place of wholeness and perfection in their craft to be able to pull off amazing accomplishments that no one has ever done before.
On the plane trip back from Houston I started watching the movie called “Free Solo”. Anyone ever seen that? The plane landed before I could finish watching it, so the other night I rented it. My wife and I watched the entire movie. It’s a gripping story. This guy climbs sheer rock mountain sides relying on nothing but his hands and feet – no ropes, no net, no safety gear, no nothing but only his wits and skill and grit. It’s a type of mountain climbing that very few people do. But last year this guy, Alex Hannold, climbed El Capitan Wall in Yosemite National Park completely free solo! It’s 3,200 feet straight up. I’d call him the real Spiderman! It’s the greatest feat in rock climbing history! No one has ever done it before or after him. It is so difficult you have to be absolutely perfect with every toehold, every fingerhold, every leg swing, every grip on every tiny indentation in the rock. If you aren’t perfect, you fall to your death.
That kind of sheer guts, determination, will-power, and focus requires endless hours, weeks and years of practice and preparation. When I see that in any person, I’m blown away. I’m moved at the core of my being. And over the years I could never figure out why I had such a strong emotional response! Until a couple weeks ago. I was trying to figure out this gut response that I’ve had all these years and finally the Spirit of the Lord revealed to me what I couldn’t understand. What I’m responding to in my heart is the image of God. The Image of God (Imago Dei) is revealed in mankind’s drive for perfection. We’re all made in the Image of God as human beings (whether Christian or not). And the Spirit within me responds to that Imago Dei wherever and whenever and in whoever it is displayed!James wrote “Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows.” (James 1:17) Perfection – perfect giftedness – comes from above. When I see the highest expression of skill or talent or perfect giftedness, or powerful stories of compassion or sacrificial lay-down-your-life kind of love, or a story of someone conquering an immensely towering personal adversity, I’m overwhelmed by the presence of God. And not just the presence of God in a general or generic sort of way. Ultimately, I’m responding to the presence of Jesus… drawn to the perfection of Jesus. I’m stirred in my Spirit. It grips my heart.