I am in awe of Jesus! I am truly in awe! Recently, He has impressed upon me to study holiness. Truthfully, this is a revisit for me. But this is the wonderful thing about God, He knows our understanding, He knows our circumstances, He knows why we make a particular decision too. He knows us! The cool part is that He takes us where we are at and will open our understanding along the way based off our own lives. In the Good News Version of the Bible Isaiah 28:10 tells us, “He is trying to teach us letter by letter, line by line, lesson by lesson.”
As I was studying, I recalled some of the things that had been taught from the past, but this time, there was something that changed my understanding to what I was researching. The thing that changed my understanding was … my own experiences of trying to walk with God.
As I studied the word holiness, I recalled how I’ve acted and responded over the past several years since I’ve known God. While my intention is always to do right by God, truth-be-told, I have failed over and over again. Not always, but certainly enough times to make me realize that I’m kind of, well … a mess. The place that He’s called me to work most is in my home, with my own family members. This is the very place where it seems that I am the messiest. We tend to put our walls down and let everyone see the ‘real’ us at home, don’t we?
Anyway, as I was studied this, I recalled distinct moments where I knew how I should respond, but I didn’t ‘feel’ like responding the appropriate way. Maybe I was mad or hurt and perhaps even justifiably so. In those moments where I felt justified, I have to admit that I was hell-bent on doing what was right for God; using my circumstances to justify my sour response as taking a stand for Christ. Thankfully, God’s grace covered me through all of this because my heart was truly in the right place of doing what was right for God. However, it was time to open my understanding because ultimately, God does expect us to grow and change and produce fruits of peace and gentleness, humility and love, to name a few.
I have certainly felt those things a time or two through the trials I’ve experienced, but not quite as often as I would have hoped. This study helped me understand that something was missing in my equation. I was trying to accomplish something for Christ, but I’ve been doing it all on my own. I’ve been working hard, really hard, and it’s resulted in me feeling run down, wore out, and wondering when the peace is going to get here. I’ve been a slave for Christ.
At this point, I can’t help but recalling a sermon in which a woman stood on stage and shared that, ‘she chooses to be lovely for Him.’ I realize, that this is what it means to walk in ‘holiness.’ It encompasses our thoughts, our actions, our words, our clothing, and especially how we respond when things are difficult … everything! I thought I understood this before, but I thought simply living my life for Christ meant that He would accept me the way I am and correct me along the way. After all, He knows me and created me. And you know what, He has. However, He’s now calling me to something higher .. He’s wanting to deepen my relationship with Him.
Walking in holiness encompasses taking an active position of making changes He reveals to me. It’s taking the understandings He’s giving me and acting on them. It’s taking the work out of relationship and making it an act of love instead of merely an act of obedience. I love Him and I choose to do my best to paint a picture of loveliness for Him. Certainly there are times when it’s harder than others. Certainly at times, it goes against what I want or feel like responding. Certainly there are times when I know I appear to be hypocritical. And certainly, I will fail and not produce the picture of loveliness that I wanted to paint for Him.
But that’s the beauty of holiness. It’s a process. I’m certain there are things that He has yet to reveal to me regarding my understanding even now.
The beauty of holiness is that out of love, I want to be pleasing to Him. I want to be lovely … for Him.
After all, Jesus is coming back for a bride, not a slave. 🙂