The Perfect Man
Develop in the four areas that make up the whole man.

The Bible has a lot to say about true Christians measuring themselves, but against what are we to measure ourselves? It is easy to compare ourselves to those around us. The Bible, though, tells us not to do that: “For we dare not make ourselves of the number, or compare ourselves with some that commend themselves: but they measuring themselves by themselves, and comparing themselves among themselves, are not wise” (2 Corinthians 10:12).

We see in numerous passages what our standard actually is. Ephesians 4:13 reads, “Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ.” We are going to be measured as Christ is measured—His full stature. The phrase used here is unequivocal: “a perfect man.” Can God really expect that of us? Absolutely.

Jesus Christ said quite bluntly: “Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect” (Matthew 5:48). In this scripture, Christ points to His Father as perfect and tells us that we are to meet that standard. Our standard is the God Family because that is what we are—part of the God Family. Yes, even before baptism, as young people in God’s Church, that applies to you.

In his first article to teens, in the first issue of True Education, Pastor General Gerald Flurry quoted Luke 1:17: “And he shall go before him in the spirit and power of Elias, to turn the hearts of the fathers to the children, and the disobedient to the wisdom of the just; to make ready a people prepared for the Lord.”

This scripture is unique because it tells you that you, young people of God, are part of the people being prepared for the God Family. That means you are learning the same royal standard, measuring up to the perfection that God the Father and Jesus Christ exemplify.

In a Plain Truth article titled “Emotional Maturity,” Herbert W. Armstrong wrote: “Jesus Christ, at age 33½, was the most perfectly developed man, physically, mentally, spiritually, and emotionally, who ever lived. He was fully mature, these four blending harmoniously into the one perfect whole man.”

Let’s understand the standard that Jesus Christ—the perfect man—set physically, spiritually, emotionally and mentally.


What was Jesus Christ like physically? The world has a completely wrong idea about this. I used to go visit my grandparents in Kentucky, and the most striking thing as I entered their home was the pictures of the false Christ. Dozens and dozens of them, all long-haired, weak and effeminate. This is how most so-called Christians picture their Savior. The portrayal of Jesus Christ as an effeminate, long-haired man is so prevalent that most immediately picture that image in their mind whenever they hear the name “Jesus.”

He wasn’t that way at all! So what do we know?

We know that Jesus Christ was a family man, raised by Joseph and Mary, with several brothers and sisters.

Isaiah 53 prophesies of the Messiah’s physical appearance: “[H]e hath no form nor comeliness; and when we shall see him, there is no beauty that we should desire him.” Jesus was not especially handsome. In fact, He was completely plain-looking and average. Certainly, this doesn’t mean Jesus was ugly, but there was nothing about His physical features that would cause Him to stand out in a crowd or cause young ladies to swoon at the sight of Him! Also, Judas Iscariot, the one who betrayed Jesus, had to publicly kiss Jesus to identify Him for those who sought to kill Him. This would have been unnecessary if Jesus were a long-haired vagabond in flowing white robes!

Like many Jews, Jesus may have worn a beard as an adult—Isaiah 50:6 tells us that the smiters plucked the hairs from His face—but the Scriptures do not indicate that He wore long hair like a woman. If He had, this would have been another distinguishing feature that would have easily identified Him at a glance. History plainly shows that the first-century Jews of Judea—and even the Romans—wore their hair short. In 1 Corinthians 11:14, the Apostle Paul tells us that it is a shame for a man to have long hair; there was nothing shameful about the Son of God.

We also know from various gospel accounts that Jesus Christ was a carpenter (Mark 6:3; Matthew 13:55). In the March 1968 Good News, Paul Royer gives a great description of what it meant to be a carpenter at that time. He writes:

“The carpenter in Christ’s time was no ordinary person. There were no power saws, no precut timber. All work was accomplished by muscle and brawn, by men who were real men!

“… In this trade, Jesus Christ developed a physique that would have made most athletes a little jealous. …

“There were no trucks carrying premixed concrete to roll up and pour the foundation. … Boards too had to be sawed from the rough beams. From forest to foundation, from rock quarry to roof, the house became a reality. All handmade by men who were men!” (“What Kind of Man Was Jesus Christ?” Good News, March 1968)

I’m not suggesting you need to build a house, but especially if you’re a man, you need to be strong. Proverbs 20:29 says, “The glory of young men is their strength: and the beauty of old men is the gray head.” You should be actively working on developing your physical strength. In the process, you are building character as well!

Matthew 21 record another example of Christ’s physical dynamism. “And Jesus went into the temple of God, and cast out all them that sold and bought in the temple, and overthrew the tables of the moneychangers, and the seats of them that sold doves, And said unto them, It is written, My house shall be called the house of prayer; but ye have made it a den of thieves” (verses 12-13).

Christ was a powerful man who drove the money changers out of the temple with a whip. If Christ was physically strong, you want to be that way too, not because your friends are or are not, but because our perfect example was—unlike the sickly and weak examples Mr. Armstrong talked about in society today.


Mr. Armstrong’s comments on Jesus Christ being the perfect man physically, spiritually, emotionally and mentally were in the context of emotional maturity. Scripture often talks about Christ expressing emotion. He was frequently shown to be compassionate (Matthew 9:36; 15:32). Mark 10:14 records that Jesus “was much displeased, and said unto them, Suffer the little children to come unto me, and forbid them not: for of such is the kingdom of God.”

In “Our Example of Emotional Maturity,” Ryan Malone writes: “The phrase ‘much displeased’ does not do justice to Christ’s emotional state here. That phrase in the Greek means to be moved with indignation, and its root word means to ache. Christ was indignant against what His disciples were doing. He ached. He was passionate even about the little children.”

Jesus expressed proper godly sorrow at times. The shortest verse in the Bible, John 11:35, simply says “Jesus wept.” A few verses prior to that, John says that Jesus was troubled and “groaned in the spirit” (verse 33). The root word here for “groaned” in the Greek means to snort with anger. Christ was visibly and vehemently moved and “troubled”—a word used here and also on the night of His last Passover, when He faced betrayal and crucifixion. That’s how poignantly these Jews’ lack of faith affected Him.

On the night of His murder, Christ said: “These things have I spoken unto you, that my joy might remain in you, and that your joy might be full” (John 15:11). As He approached His death—knowing the prophecies about how brutal it would be—Christ was filled with godly joy.

In his emotional maturity article, Mr. Armstrong wrote about how few consider their spiritual development. But he followed it with this: “But fewer still ever give so much as a passing thought to the need for emotional development. Just what do we mean—emotional maturity? Few know the meaning of the term. Do you? Yet it is one of the real secrets of human happiness. … No one is born with it. It must be learned—developed. We need, continually, to realize that we are born as helpless little babes, knowing nothing at birth. We do not come equipped with instinct, like the dumb animals. … And one of the basic things every human needs so vitally to learn is the right use of the human emotions. So you see, the human mind has something vital to do with human emotions. Yet most people never give thought to controlling emotions with the mind! But our emotions need to be understood, taught, trained, and controlled by the mind!”

That’s the secret. You have to be taught to control your emotions with your mind—not to simply succumb to them. Satan is a master at broadcasting emotion. We have to be masters at controlling it.

Talking about Christ as our example of emotional maturity, Mr. Armstrong wrote: “Jesus Christ is our example. Can you comprehend what extreme deep feeling Jesus experienced when He looked out over the city of Jerusalem, whose deceived, erring, wrong-doing people He loved, and cried out: ‘O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, thou that killest the prophets, and stonest them which are sent unto thee, how often would I have gathered thy children together, even as a hen gathereth her chickens under her wings, and ye would not!’ (Matthew 23:37). Here was emotion expressed. But it was intelligent expression of feeling—not unthinking, unguided sensual impulse. It was filled with deep meaning!”

There is a great deal of Church literature on this topic. One article you could read on is “The Secret to Being Happy” by Fred Dattolo.


Let’s look at the “mentally” part of the quadrant.

Luke 2 records a remarkable anecdote of how Christ developed his mind as a youth. “And the child grew, and waxed strong in spirit, filled with wisdom: and the grace of God was upon him. And when he was twelve years old, they went up to Jerusalem after the custom of the feast. And when they had fulfilled the days, as they returned, the child Jesus tarried behind in Jerusalem; and Joseph and his mother knew not of it. But they, supposing him to have been in the company, went a day’s journey; and they sought him among their kinsfolk and acquaintance. And when they found him not, they turned back again to Jerusalem, seeking him. And it came to pass, that after three days they found him in the temple, sitting in the midst of the doctors, both hearing them, and asking them questions. And all that heard him were astonished at his understanding and answers. And when they saw him, they were amazed: and his mother said unto him, Son, why hast thou thus dealt with us? behold, thy father and I have sought thee sorrowing. And he said unto them, How is it that ye sought me? wist ye not that I must be about my Father’s business?” (verses 40, 42-49).

Imagine that. As a 12-year-old, he astonished the scholars of the day with His knowledge and understanding. That sort of knowledge comes through study. We know that He wasn’t simply wise. He learned that wisdom. And just three verses later, in verse 52, we read this: “And Jesus increased in wisdom and stature, and in favour with God and man.”

So in the spirit of comparing ourselves with Christ, ask yourself these two questions: 1. Are you increasing in wisdom and stature? 2. Are you increasing in favor with God and man? That’s what Christ did as a young person—and it’s what you should do today.

It’s worth acknowledging, too, that the next category, spiritual, requires that you work on these other categories. There are many inherent connections between the mental and spiritual categories. Faith comes by studying God’s Word (Romans 10:17). Proverbs 18:15 says: “The heart of the prudent getteth knowledge; and the ear of the wise seeketh knowledge.” You need to develop mentally in order to develop spiritually.


Christ was a man of prayer. He gave specific instructions (see Matthew 6:9-13 for the model prayer) on how to pray to His disciples and delivered powerful prayers Himself. John 17 records a prayer that He gave the night before His crucifixion—a prayer not for Himself, but for His disciples. Read the entire chapter to see His example of outflowing love and concern for others in His final hours. It is a wonderful, profound truth of the Bible that Jesus Christ came to Earth in order to die for our sins. His death paid the penalty for the sins of all those who repent and call on that sacrifice (e.g. Matthew 26:28; Romans 5:8-10).

The key to His spiritual success was His relationship with His Father. John 1:18 says: “No man hath seen God at any time; the only begotten Son, which is in the bosom of the Father, he hath declared him” (John 1:18).

In The God Family Vision, Gerald Flurry writes: “Thayer’s Lexicon says that Christ was in ‘the closest and most intimate relation to the Father.’ What a relationship! Christ was in the bosom of the Father—the most intimate relationship ever! For all eternity, they had worked in agreement, harmony, peace, joy and love. Only God’s love can explain that closeness.

“That is where the Father wants you! He wants you in His bosom—to have the same relationship that He and Christ have. Jesus Christ set an example, showing us how to have that relationship with our Father. You have never seen or heard about another example like Christ’s. And you never will see another one like it!

“Christ sacrificed Himself that we might have a Father-son relationship that lasts forever. It is our birthright! What an incredibly wonderful future. We must comprehend this profound understanding, or we will fail utterly.

“Notice the last part of verse 18. It says that when Jesus Christ came to Earth, He declared the Father. That was His message for mankind; it was about the Father!”

That is the kind of closeness God the Father and Jesus Christ want to have with you. That is the love they are building into the God Family. This is the reason Christ was so spectacularly successful in every category. Because He focused on the spiritual first, He developed into the perfect man physically, emotionally and mentally as well.

Here is a quote from Biblical Manhood that applies to both the spiritual and physical categories: “Before being tempted of the devil, Jesus went without food and water for 40 days—something no frail weakling could ever endure. Before His crucifixion, Jesus was brutally beaten (John 19:1), then nailed to a stake with iron spikes. Yet his health was so robust that He lived through what would have easily killed the average man. He survived until a Roman soldier finally thrust a spear into His side.”

So what was the result of all of this? Where did becoming a perfect man take Christ? There is no exacting description of what Jesus Christ looked like as a man. But we do know exactly what He looks like today. And because of that, we also know what you will look like when you are born into the God Family.

“And in the midst of the seven candlesticks one like unto the Son of man, clothed with a garment down to the foot, and girt about the paps with a golden girdle. His head and his hairs were white like wool, as white as snow; and his eyes were as a flame of fire; And his feet like unto fine brass, as if they burned in a furnace; and his voice as the sound of many waters. And he had in his right hand seven stars: and out of his mouth went a sharp twoedged sword: and his countenance was as the sun shineth in his strength” (Revelation 1:13-16).

If we really examine ourselves in comparison to Jesus Christ—the perfect man—we will begin to see where we fall short. And we’ll see how to take the steps we need to take to become that perfect Matthew-5:48 man—and eventually, a full-fledged member of the God Family as Christ is today. Today, He sits at the right hand of God, glorified. When the Apostle John saw Him in a vision, he fell at His feet as though he were dead! (verse 17). When you think of Jesus Christ, remember that He is the all-powerful God of Revelation 1. That is our ultimate goal: to become the perfect man today so that we can qualify to join Jesus Christ as His Bride forever and shine like the sun in its strength.