Thursday, July 16, 2009

Holiness is What You Want From Me

"Holiness, holiness is what I long for. Holiness is what I need. Holiness, holiness is what You want from me."
Holiness - Sonicflood

Lately, God has been singing that song a lot to me. Not that I don't think that I am not living Holy. Well, not blatantly living unholy anyway (I still struggle and God is still working to change a lot in me), but God has really been bringing this up a lot. I think it has come up so much lately just as a reminder as to how so important Holiness is.

Holiness isn't just a collection of actions that you do and then are all of a sudden holy. Holiness involves so much more than just what you do, it also concerns the condition and focus of your heart and soul. I've heard people say that there is no way to achieve holiness, I've done too much. This is true to an extent. Apart from God, there is absolutely no way to achieve holy living. Because God is a holy he commands us to be holy. Just because I decide to say that in a blog, really means nothing. I can tell you stuff all day, but I'm just Bruce and little of what I come up with on my own is ever really deep or right for that matter. Anything that I ever say that is even close to thought provoking comes from God.

Fortunately you don't have to take my word for it. God commands this in Leviticus 19:2 by saying "Be holy because I, the LORD your God, am holy." Notice God did not simply command us to be holy. He also gave the reason. He is holy, so we must be.

The bible is packed with holiness (no pun intended). I did a search for the words holy and holiness using BibleGateway (King James Version) and came up with 621 times that either of those words are used. I think God may have intended it to be important.

So if it's that important and by our very nature it is impossible for us to live holy, how can God command us to "Be Holy"? Because of Jesus. God came to Earth as a man to show us how to live holy. God will never command the unattainable. Remember He said be holy because I am holy. If the focus of our heart and soul is to imitate Jesus, then holiness is attainable. That is not to say that we won't ever sin again, we're human (you're gonna sin), but the intent of our heart and our actions can reflect the holiness that is Christ Jesus.

But I digress, as I write this God is steering me back towards the idea that someone can not achieve holiness because of what they've done in the past. That is ludicrous to say the least. What we have done in our past, once confessed to God and repented of, has no impact on the person that God is molding us to. If it does, that is only because WE allow it to. God fully intends us to be so much more than what we were before and he isn't going to stop at "good enough". When you think that you are finally "good enough" for God, He isn't even close to finished with you. I love how C.S. Lewis puts it in Mere Christianity. He said, "You thought you were going to be made into a decent little cottage: But He is building a palace. He intends to come and live in it Himself." That is how you achieve holiness, by letting God live in you. It doesn't matter what you did. Listen to what Peter says in 1 Peter 1:14-16,

"14 So you must live as God's obedient children. Don't slip back into your old ways of living to satisfy your own desires. You didn't know any better then. 15 But now you must be holy in everything you do, just as God who chose you is holy. 16 For the Scriptures say, 'You must be holy because I am holy.'"

Two things that stick out to me: 1. You didn't know any better then. That tells me that after you accept Christ, you do know better. That says to me that you are no longer the same person. That is exactly where God wants you. 2. He chose you. He chose you to be His children and holy. If God chose you to be holy, then it must be something that He has made capable of attaining. With that said there is no secret formula. Being holy is being obedient. The life style we chose to live is part of that holiness. Our purity (which by the can still chose to be pure - and yes, I'm talking about sexual sin, all of it premarital sex, the way we talk, our thoughts, our eyes, all of it - even if you've done any of that prior to coming to Christ), the way we talk, the way we treat others, and so much more. But all of that needs to be grounded in a relationship with God, in which you allow Him to enter your heart and form it to look like His, take your mind and transform it to think like Him and take your will and conform it to His (which won't always be what you want).

Bottom line is this: God has called us to "Be Holy", not become holy. He has already provided the example (Jesus), the instructions (His word - the Bible), and the desire (that longing we all have for "something more" - BTW that longing can only be filled by a relationship with Christ). But he also gave us free will, so the decision to "Be Holy" is fully ours. Keep in mind though, there's really not much of a choice there. Either we chose God and holiness and we get to experience the most intense, deep and meaningful love that you can't even imagine or we chose the world and our desires and we get to experience the intense pain and devastation of Hell and eternal separation from our God and His love.

I hope this all flowed the way God intended it to. I read it like 10 times before I posted it. If it doesn't make sense, I am sorry. I am but a man and some times I get in the way of what God is trying to say or do (not intentionally, but it's our nature).

Trying to Be Holy,