I have a few minutes this morning (just a few . . . we’re in the middle of percents and decimals over here; for the record, I didn’t understand them when I was in the 6th grade; at forty-six years old, I can’t say my grasp is much better, but I digress. Forgive me; it happens a lot these days. Homeschooling is a real buzzard at times). So with earplugs in place to drown out the background noises of the DVD instruction taking place in the adjacent kitchen, I sit down in front of my computer to ask you, even as I am asking myself, a question.
What allowances in your life are hampering your pursuit of holiness? What temporal triggers are you tolerating that are messing up God’s eternal mandate to you to “Be holy, because I am holy.” (1 Peter 1:15-16)?
I know this is a weighty question attached to an even weightier requirement. But it belongs to us as God’s children, both the question and the requirement. We cannot forsake them in the name of relevancy or of being compatible with a world that is adamantly opposed to and kicking against the tenets of a surrendered life. The world will always kick against surrender. Why? Because surrendering requires submission to a higher authority thereby relinquishing control to that higher authority. When surrender suits our fancy—when our ears are tickled and our flesh is fed and dressed with temporal delights—we’re quick to bend the knee. When surrender suits God’s fancy—when our hearts are pricked and our flesh is drained of temporal delights in order to make room for his everlasting righteousness—we’re slower to yield.
We’re still so very attached to this world, are we not? Still holding on to the little we have left (our possessions and our flesh) falsely assuming that the more we manage them, the more we control them, the greater our contentment in the end.
What tragedy! What defeat! What exhaustion! We’re killing ourselves in exchange for a few moments of temporary pleasure instead of dying to ourselves in exchange for a lifetime of eternal treasure. When and where and how did our consecrated focus turn into wretched blindness? Was yours a quick plunge into dissipation or a slow fade into darkness? Again, my question to you and to myself . . .
What allowances in your life are hampering your pursuit of holiness?
Let me suggest a practical approach to answering this question; time is of the essence (not just in the 6th grade classroom, but in the classroom called life):
- Make a list. Find a pencil, a piece of paper, and some quietness. Open up your mind and your heart before the Father and list every allowance in your life that is a hindrance to your pursuit of holiness. Television? The Internet? Music? Habits? Attitudes? Memories? Compulsions? Addictions? If you’re not sure whether or not these allowances are in keeping with God’s mandate for holiness, then ask yourself the following questions:
What am I feeding? My soul or my flesh? Would God linger here . . . in this place of my allowance? How does my soul feel after I’ve pushed away from the table? Full, empty, or soured? Once you’ve made your list, then . . .
- Make a commitment. Prayerfully consider this list before God and allow him his voice in the matter of your holiness. Take time to read a few scriptures pertaining to holiness and give attention to the Holy Spirit’s prompting within. Here are a few to get you started: 1 Peter 1:13-25, 2 Corinthians 6:14 – 7:1, Romans 6:15-23, Hebrews 12.
What “letting go”, what surrender is he asking of you in order to make more room for the holiness he longs to pour into you? God will not leave you hanging here; if you are earnestly and sincerely approaching the Father regarding the matter of personal holiness, he will clearly and directly approach you regarding his. Listen in, and, then, with his mandate in mind . . .
- Make a move. Don’t sit on conviction. Move on it. Start crossing off your allowances, one at a time, even if it hurts. If you tarry with your conviction (thinking perhaps that by thinking on it another day will clear the matter up), you’ll lose it. You’ll no longer be convinced that this particular allowance is hindering your holiness. Instead, you’ll coddle it, keep it close to your soul until it moves you so far away from the voice of Jesus, you’ll no longer be able to discern his amongst those competing for your attention.
Make a move. Do it while you have the borrowed strength from the Holy Spirit to do so. When you entertain Jesus in your heart, you have the enabling power of all heaven to move you forward in your consecrated pursuit of holiness.
There you have it; my few minutes. Actually, a few more than a few. There have been some interruptions along the way. No matter. At noon, my heart is still fixed upon what my heart was fixed upon at the beginning of my day . . .
My pursuit of holiness. To make a list, make a commitment, and then, by God’s empowering grace, to make a move in the right and good direction.
To God I go. To God I will cling. To God be the glory; great things he is doing in the lives of his children! Keep to it, friends. As always . . .
Peace for the journey,
PS: I couldn’t have just one winner of the If Birds Could Fly CD, so Lori and Laura, you’re both going to get a copy! Beth just met with Brittany at Pizza Hut; once I have them, I’ll mail them to you. Enjoy.