Working Hard at Holiness

It’s easy becoming a Christian. While some might argue that statement, and the journey to becoming a Christ follower might take significant time, the act of inviting Christ into one’s life is not hard. It takes a simple prayer and some faith. But becoming a devoted follower of Christ is a lot harder. I’ve decided becoming a disciple is not for the faint of heart. It’s hard work.

Recently I have become painfully aware of some things in my life that needed to be changed. Several weeks ago I simply acknowledged to God that I wanted to change some of those aspects and asked Him to open my eyes to see truth and see how I might do that. I was a little surprised to find the results.

I was led to 1 Peter. The Apostle Peter had some things to say about holiness and discipleship. 1:14-16 says “As obedient children, do not conform to the evil desires you had when you lived in ignorance. But just as he who called you is holy, so be holy in all you do; for it is written: ‘Be holy, because I am holy.'” When you read this and begin to consider fully what it says, I find that holiness is possible. But how do we do this? 1 Peter 2:1-3 states, “Therefore rid yourselves of all malice and all deceit, hypocrisy, envy, and slander of every kind. Like newborn babies, crave pure spiritual milk, so that you may grow up in your salvation, now that you have tasted that the Lord is good”. There you have it. Rid yourselves. It doesn’t say “take a stab at it,” or “do the best you can”, but it says, “do it!” And that’s where it gets hard.

Holiness is not for the faint of heart. It takes energy. It takes perseverance as the thoughts and voices come to you. The evil one is crafty. Coupled with our western culture minds, we are wired to ask what about me? What if I don’t do this? Who will watch out for me? Who will take care of me? What about my desires? My wishes? We live in a land where everyone believes they’re supposed to get the trophy. And though we get a trophy, we still may not have tried really hard. Sometimes we just showed up.

Just showing up doesn’t cut it as a disciple. Christ came to radically change us, western mindset and all. We have to work hard to rid ourselves of all the things that stand in the way. It is a choice, and a hard choice at that. It will always be a choice. Maybe that’s why the life of a disciple is described as a narrow path. Few want to walk on it. Who wants to fight hard for it?

I do. Most of the time I fail miserably. But it’s a journey that takes one step at a time. So I find myself being challenged to rid myself of evil and work hard at holiness. Gratefully, humbly, I find a Savior who is there to help me along the way. Will you come with me?

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