The Lord our God seeks representation; he wants to be found in creation, and he wants to be found in our holiness — in our actions, in our behavior.
Pray tonight. Pray with your family. Hug your mom and tell her the good news that Jesus is King. Show the kindness of Christ to your enemy at school. Bless your worst teacher, do not curse her. Pray for your co-worker who needles you. And no more white lies. No more looking at inappropriate pictures. No more off-color jokes when your Christian friends are not around. No more seeking slight advantages over others. No more subversive speech. No more gossip. Whatever is lovely, whatever is pure, whatever is noble (and Christ is all of this), think on such things.
Christians are the Temple of God on Earth. We are his abode. And would it be that Jesus needs to cleanse the Temple Again? May it never be! Let us be clean, let us be holy as our Father in Heaven is holy.
Do you hunger for holiness? Do you want it more than you want to be smart, skinny, good looking, rich, well fed, popular,… Do you crave to be holy like Jesus is holy? Then pursue it as if you pursue Christ himself. Pursue relationships that are righteous. Meet with Christians who want the same, and talk together about how to do this.
We all need help in this. Make it your urgent immediate life goal. Your life is short, spend it in seeking to be Jesus in your church, in your home, in your school, at work, at the gym, when you sit with your children, when you go for walks… Be singled minded. Seek Holiness. Which is to say, Seek Christ!
And find a church where Christ is the beginning, center, and chief end of all that is meaningful. Find a church where Jesus is the Song. Find a group of Christians who want to obey Christ and be Holy. And call your church to this glorious end. Call your family to it. And in all of this, may the lost and perishing find in you the message of God. May they see in you the Gospel. May your holiness spill over into telling others about the chief object of your affections: Jesus.
I fear that I am too sinful, and I too often return to small and trivial thoughts. I fear that I rarely lift my eyes higher than the mundane dribble that comes from a T.V. show, second rate movies, or a preoccupation with meaningless hobbies that make me numb to sin and blind to the excellencies of Jesus. May a real fear of God drive me to reach out beyond my complacency.
Oh that to be on fire for Christ would be a critical mission for more of his named followers. How about I start with me. And how about you start with you. That, after all, is what we are called to do.
We know about Jesus. We study his word. We listen to lectures and sermons and read the latest books. But what about exactitude in obedience? Do we go after that with the same effort that compels us to ride the latest fad of Christianity? Are we fully schooled in projects about Truth, but absent from the academy of holiness? We build our database of facts about Jesus as easily as we breathe, but do we turn that into private and public actions of obedience? When we are alone, do we sense that we are surrounded by the hosts of heaven? We are! And we are always under the watchful gaze of our Lord. He knows our subtle gossip, our white lies, our concealed hate and our shifting eyes.
Let’s be Holy. Let’s commit to it. Let’s be as serious about that as we are about protecting our families, our homes, our income, our reputation, our looks and our entertainment. In fact, we may find that in seeking Jesus (which is to seek holiness), we end up loosing our families, our homes, our income, our reputation, and all the rest. For those who would gain Christ lose this life in order to gain it back in the Resurrection.
The Lord counts our obedience. He sees our good works, and he is pleased to receive our humble offerings. Our active holiness will be matched. We will find that our good works here are the storing-up of treasures that we will enjoy in the Resurrection. It is worth it. It is a glorious investment. To love Christ is to be greeted by him when he raises us from the grave. We will gain back our lives. The Lord is good. So be Holy. Be holy even at the personal cost of giving up the right to say a cutting joke, to tell a mean story, to fight an evil with evil, to contemplate the appealing, to gain a decisive advantage, to accumulate the wealth of others, to overlook the soul that needs your help, to ignore God and prayer because of another movie or meaningless event. Give Jesus your life, and he will return it to you in the resurrection.