Read a Noles Excerpt

Read a Noles Excerpt
Just Perfect

Read Matthew 5:43-48.

"Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect" (v. 48).

For years, Bobby Bowden kept an empty picture frame in his office. Finally, after his 34th season as a head coach, he got a picture for it.

The photograph was of the 1999 national champions because Bowden had been reserving that frame for his first undefeated team. Those 12-0 Seminoles were actually the second team in FSU football history to go undefeated. In the first year the Tribe moved into Doak Campbell Stadium and only the fourth year of football in the modern era, the 1950 squad went 8-0. The head coach was Don Veller, who compiled a record of 31-12-1 from 1948-52 and laid the foundation for FSUís move into big-time football. The 1950 team defeated Troy State, Randolph-Macon, Howard, Newberry, Sewanee, Stetson in the first game in Doak Campbell, Mississippi College, and Tampa.

Forty-nine years later, playing this time on the biggest stage college football has, the Seminoles went undefeated again, holding the top ranking every week of the season. The national champs had some Saturday laughers, blasting Louisiana Tech, N.C. State, North Carolina, Duke, Wake Forest, Virginia, and Maryland. They also had some nail-biters, outscoring Georgia Tech 41-35, whipping Miami 31-21 after falling behind 21-14, nudging Clemson 17-14 though Tommy Bowdenís Tigers led 14-3 at the half, and clipping Florida 30-23 after the Gators led 16-13 at the break.

The season every fan dreams about ended in the Sugar Bowl with a 46-29 win over Virginia Tech and quarterback Michael Vick. Bowden had his perfect season and his photograph.

Nobodyís perfect; we all make mistakes every day. We botch our personal relationships despite repeatedly trying to get them right. At work we seek competence, not perfection. To insist upon personal or professional perfection in our lives is to set the bar so impossibly high that physical, emotional, and mental meltdowns are inevitable.

Yet that is exactly the standard God sets for us in our relationships with others. Our love is to be perfect, without hesitation, without interruption, without conditions -- just the way God loves us. But since weíre only human, arenít we being set up for failure?

Yes, itís an impossible standard for us, this idea of loving perfectly as God does, but God nevertheless expects us to do our best and never quit trying. And in his perfect love for us, God makes allowance for our imperfect love and the consequences of it. We call him Jesus.

I think many Christians make a mistake. Nobodyís perfect. -- Bobby Bowden

In his perfect love for us, God provides a way for us to escape the consequences of our imperfect love for him: Jesus.

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