New International Version: “For it is written: ‘Be holy, because I am holy.’” (1 Peter 1:16)
I see a scary trend happening among Christians. There is an acceptance of compromise in our walks with Christ. I have had conversations and overheard Christians sharing their convictions (or lack thereof) about issues that have a great impact on their relationship with the Lord.
What leads people to accept compromise in their convictions is a false understanding of holiness. Holiness is not defined as perfection. Perfection leads us to defeat; holiness inspires us to worship. Perfection pursues the right appearance. Holiness desires a pure heart. The church seems to have mixed the two up.
Observe this definition of holiness provided by BibleStudyTools.com: “Personal holiness is a work of gradual development. It is carried on under many hindrances, hence the frequent admonitions to watchfulness, prayer, and perseverance (1).” Holiness is being lead by the Lord, with an undefiled heart, towards a more perfect union with Him.
I propose three ways to check yourself to see if you are pursuing holiness in your life with Christ. I was convicted myself as I wrote these words, but I think they are practical and helpful insights.
- Check your heart.What is your heart yearning for? What stirs your affections and desires at the deepest level? Granted, there are many good things in our lives (e.g. family, friends, material possessions), but none should cause more of a stirring of emotion than thinking of Jesus.
- Check your mouth.The mouth will always indicate what is in the heart, given enough time. If you are compromising in your language, you have probably become complacent with compromise in other areas. Ask others around you how your tone sounds. Are you communicating with an edge? Maybe you are being short and don’t realize it. This is a regular check up for me. My tone can tell me a lot about the state of my heart.
- Check your entertainment choices. I’m not going to delve too deeply here since a lot of entertainment is a matter of personal conviction, but if you are actively searching and seeking material that clearly violates God’s desire for your purity, chances are you aren’t pursing holiness with your whole heart.
I hope you are encouraged by this post. My desire is that you realize holiness is not meeting a standard on your own. Rather, it is the action of setting your heart aside for the Lord and pursuing purity for the sake of your relationship with God!
Remember He loves you and wants to commune with you. He desires holiness because he desires you, and he wants all of you!
God bless, and have a wonderful Saturday!
Photograph taken by Stefan Kunze