While I was visiting my parents I had the opportunity to attend service at their church (Prairie Avenue Christian Center) on July 5th. Their head pastor was away on business, so that gave his son an opportunity to preach.
The topic of the morning dealt with living Holy. He said we are dead to our sinful nature and alive in Christ. People that are alive do stuff. God expects us to take an active part in our sanctification. It goes back to the spirit following the flesh. The state of our heart is not automatically good because we believe in God. We do not do good because we are good. Through our faith in Christ, we have a desire to be holy and do what is good and right, that is what causes us to take action and following His example. Through that, our heart is turned toward holiness. Dave (the pastor's son) went on to say, "God commands us to BE holy, not become holy." God has already done the work for us. He has already given us what we need to BE holy." It isn't enough to say, "I am going to be holy." You actually have to BE holy and that takes action. Dave gave a list of 10 things that should cause us to want to be active in our faith, so that we can BE holy before God. I'm not going to go though all of them (you can get the podcast at the above link if interested), but here are the few that really stuck out to me:
1. Our desire to please God (1 John 5:3-5)
I've blogged on this before: obedience. The best way that we can show God love is through obedience. This is pleasing to God. Obedience takes action. You have to decide to be obedient, then actually be obedient. Obedience is being active in you faith.
2. Our need to keep a clear conscience before God (1 Tim 1:5-7)
This is important because a clouded conscience creates a clouded view of what God expects from us. A clear conscience allows God's Spirit to work though us and direct us. This is where other stuff comes into play. A clouded conscience prevents a whole host of things: obedience, love, kindness, etc. Confession before God is an essential part of active faith. That act of taking responsibility before God is an act of submission. Submission is being active in your faith.
3. Our desire for a deeper walk with God (John 14:21)
This is (as far as I'm concerned and can tell) the most important reason to be active in our faith. Without a deep rooted relationship with our God there is NOTHING else. No ministry, no lost saved, no family, no community/fellowship, nothing. You can NEVER grow a deeper relationship with anyone without being active. James 4:8 says "Come close to God, and He will come close to you. Wash your hands, you sinners; purify your hearts, for your loyalty is divided between God and the world." God is always there, but will never force Himself on you. You have to draw near to Him (action). The second part of that is that you have to focus on one thing: either God or the world. We have to be active in our relationship with God. When we are active in our relationship with God and that is our only focus, everything else will be right. Intentionally drawing near to God is being active in your faith.
Bottom line is: with out being active in our faith we are not living as we are alive in Christ. God has already given us the tools to live alive and be holy. God desires us to be Christ like. That is the ONLY example there is for being holy. If you're not actively pursuing Christ, you can't be holy. C.S. Lewis said it perfectly in Mere Christianity when he said, "God looks at you as if you were a little Christ: Christ stands beside you to turn you into one."