You’ve heard the saying, “A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step?” Well, my journey began last Friday and took me to the plains of western Texas and the mountains of Southern California. Each destination offered an opportunity to learn more about myself and the person I want to be.
Texas. Big Sky Country, Cowboy Country, land of “Y’all” and very polite, friendly people. It really was quite beautiful. Texas sure knows how to have gorgeous skies! One of the things that I began to think about while in Texas was the concept of holiness. We don’t often speak of holiness in the Church. It’s kind of an “understood” concept, except I don’t think we understand it all that much. We don’t talk about holiness because holiness is a standard that no one meets. Holiness is a concept that follows Justification and Sanctification. See, when we enter into a relationship with Jesus Christ, He justifies us by erasing the sin that separates us from Him. Then He sets us apart to do His work and be His people here on earth. That’s Sanctification. Then comes Holiness. Holiness is the hard part, because while, ultimately, holiness is a work of the Holy Spirit within us, we have a part in it. See, in the act of justifying us, God erases the stuff that makes us unholy. So, He sees us as holy and blameless. Positionally, we are faultless before God when we enter into a covenant with Him. Relationally, we must choose to work on being holy. That means that we make a choice to act the way God sees us. And that’s the hard part, because there is no way we could ever act the way God sees us.
But we try and try and try again. Why? Because it’s a part of maintaining the relationship we have with God. As we spend time building a friendship, cultivating a romance with God, we begin to pick up His little quirks. We speak the way He speaks; we think the way He thinks; we act toward others the way He acts toward others. That’s holiness; being like God. So we curse a little less, love a little more, give of ourselves. We strive to become like Christ because we love Him and want to please Him.
But holiness is important for another reason. Holiness is exhibited in the Fruits of the Spirit. It’s how we know fellow Christ followers. We know them by their Fruit. Peace, patience, gentleness, meekness, kindness, self-control.
If you want a deeper relationship with God, it starts with you. God has already done the hard work. You’re going to heaven. Now the response is up to you. Get out of the boat, fix your eyes on God, and walk on water. Spend time in the Word and with God and become like Him. Cultivate peace, patience, gentleness, meekness, kindness and self-control in your life. Be disciplined and be discipled by the Son of God.
“I urge you, therefore my brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God. This is a reasonable act of service. And don’t be conformed to the ways of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you might prove what is the good, acceptable and fully mature will of God.” Romans 12:1-2