I am perplexed by the thought process of so many these days. On lots of topics, really. But one lately has really struck a chord with me. Churches in general these days are so focused on the grace of God. The grace of God abounds. The grace of God that I need to show others. Don't punish your children because you are showing them grace, like God shows to you.
Sounds like a lot of lovey dovey fluff to me. Yes, God is gracious to me. God gives me so much more than I deserve. And yes, we should bestow grace to others.
But just think for a second. If we spent as much time focusing on the Holiness as we do on the grace of God, don't you think we would be able to experience God's grace even more? I mean if we make it our focus to "Be ye holy for I am holy." Would we not "do" all the other things that would please God? We would be living our life righteously on purpose.
God also shows us mercy. That is very clear, but we don't hear that talked about as much as the grace part! My perspective is that "we" as a society don't want to hear how ROTTEN to the core we all are. I mean noone is better than another. We are SINNERS. FILTHY RAGS. That is what the Bible calls us. Every single one of us at some point has thought or verbally stated something to the effect of "not as bad as..." whatever you want to fill in the blank. Most of the time I hear things like, murderer or baby killer, or rapist or child molester. Yeah, those things are pretty bad. Have we forgotten that they are just as bad as telling a lie? or just as bad as us excusing our children's temper tantrum as "they are tired"? It is all SIN.
Each of those sins, even if it were the ONLY sin, would have sent Jesus to the cross. Your attitude of "I would never do that" is just. as. bad. For the record, I in my experience, whenever I say "I would never do that"; I find that Satan takes that as a challenge to get you to do just that or something else that will ruin a testimony pretty fast. Never think you are above any certain sin. You are not. I am not.
So back to the holy part. Have you ever stopped to wonder what Holy really looks like?
By definition holy means 1. worthy of absolute devotion. 2. sacred 3. having a divine quality
WORTHY OF ABSOLUTE DEVOTION.
There is nothing that deserves our absolute devotion other than God. And yet we devote our time, efforts, money, kids, thoughts, talents, energy to many other things. And often we claim it to be in the name of God. But a lot of times we are doing the work for a good show or for that good feeling that comes with it, or because there was no one else to do it. Not solely because we are ABSOLUTELY DEVOTED to God.
I am convicted of this. I have been for some time actually. For a long time, I thought my highest calling was to be a mom to my kids. After all, that is the "career" path I have chosen, and I do feel that I am called to be a mother and not something else in the career world. However, that is not my highest calling.
My true calling, and your true calling is to "be ye Holy for I am Holy." It's simple. We don't have to search all over the world to find what God wants from us. It's right there. (1 Peter 1:16 )
How can we be holy though? This is not easy to execute. As a matter of fact, I believe no one will ever in there human state achieve holiness completely. I think that we can and should strive to make that our priority as we fear God and His commandments. We should not take it lightly. We need to be set apart from the world. We need to honor God in our abilities, thoughts, actions, words, etc. We need to know Him, know His word. Follow Him, not mankind. We are going to look weird to the World when we strive for holiness. It's a fact. If we think that we can "blend in" and share Jesus we are sadly mistaken. If we blend in, we are not being sanctified, set apart, holy. Jesus never blended in. I don't want to blend in.
In my flesh I want to blend in. I don't want the world to stare at me and think I am weird. But I also know that blending is has gotten me nowhere in the grand scheme of things. My challenge to myself based on how the Holy Spirit has been working on me is what am I doing today to be holy?
I am thankful that God is gracious to me since I am not at all what he sees my potential to be. But I do wish that these new movements would stop pushing the Grace so much. It doesn't challenge us to be more Christ like or do what He has called us to do. It sort of just makes us all feel ok about where we are. That is not a good thing. Yes, God loves us where we are. But He also loves us much too much to allow us to stay there. And I believe whole heartedly that holiness is where it's at.
I heard a quote that said something like this: If we strive for happiness our whole lives, we will never find it. If we strive for Holiness, the happiness will follow.
That is pretty powerful.