It seems that God often speaks to me by repeating a topic over and over in various ways. Whether through songs, movies, scripture verses, Facebook articles, sermons or conversations – He’ll put a theme on replay until I can “see” that He’s speaking.
I really appreciate that by the way. I appreciate the fact that He knows me and realizes that it takes me a while to process things. What a sweet expression of His grace and patience in my life. After all, I can easily fall into the “I’m going to ‘miss it’ and my whole life is gonna fall apart!” mentality… so this is comforting.
I’ve recently noticed a theme that seems to be drowning me. That sounds like a negative term but I don’t mean it that way. It’s just the only way I can describe the thought because it’s so big that I can’t keep my head above it. The more I try to breathe it in the more I realize there’s more there than I can handle. The result of its depth is death to me but lightness and freedom as well. And, although it is foundational for a follower of Christ, it seems that we have redefined, justified and philosophized it to a tiny word that holds very little meaning in our lives.
The word itself looks “whole” to me. Complete. Maybe because it’s been rolling around in my head for so long. It’s solid, unchanging and otherworldly. It’s God who is wholly good and loving and just in all He is and does. But, the rub comes when we realize that we are called, throughout scripture, to be holy as well. Why? Because He is – and we are His. Holiness starts with exchanging my motivation of living for myself for the motivation of living for God, completely. It’s much more about who I am than what I do; but, the who I am will change what I do. Joel Scandrett says, “At bottom, God’s call to be holy is a radical, all-encompassing claim on our lives, our loves, and our very identities. To be a disciple of Jesus Christ requires nothing less than death to our fallen, egocentric selves in order that we might live in and for him.”
As the whole thought of holiness has begun to settle and convict in my life I’ve noticed that humans tend to be pessimistic. We naturally focus on the list of things we shouldn’t do if we want to be holy. What about the things that will characterize our lives as we become more like Jesus? Here are a few that have come up in my reading this past week.
“Who is wise and understanding among you? Let them show it by their good life, by deeds done in the humility that comes from wisdom.”James 3:13
“But the wisdom that comes from heaven is first of all pure; then peace-loving, considerate, submissive, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial and sincere. Peacemakers who sow in peace reap a harvest of righteousness.” James 3:17-18
“The fruit of righteousness will be peace; its effect will be quietness and confidence forever.” Isaiah 32:17
“Through Jesus, therefore, let us continually offer to God a sacrifice of praise—the fruit of lips that openly profess his name. And do not forget to do good and to share with others, for with such sacrifices God is pleased.” Hebrews 13:15-16
“Now may the God of peace, who through the blood of the eternal covenant brought back from the dead our Lord Jesus, that great Shepherd of the sheep, equip you with everything good for doing his will, and may he work in us what is pleasing to him, through Jesus Christ, to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen.” Hebrews 13:20-21
As I pray and wrestle with this huge thought of holiness in my life I’m trying to pay closer attention to the things that should be true of me. Am I living a good life marked by good deeds, am I humble, am I wise, am I pure, peace-loving, considerate, submissive, full of mercy, impartial, sincere, producing good fruit, do I offer God a sacrifice of praise, do I profess His name openly, do I share, am I generous, do I feel like I am more equipped to do His will than I was a few years ago, am I doing work that is pleasing to Him and that brings Him glory? The list could go on and on. In fact, my favorite book of the Bible, Ephesians, has multiple sections of the positive traits a follower of Christ will have as he or she is sanctified and made holy.
I have a feeling that God and I have only touched the tip of this iceberg. In fact, it feels as if I’m the Titanic and this thing is going to take me under. To be honest, I hope it does. I hope everything that is short of the holiness God wants for me will sink in the depths of His love only to leave behind more of His wholeness in me.
The rest of Scandrett’s article.Follow @kbug66