Sunday, August 21, 2011

The Missing Ingredient!

I was reminiscing the other Sunday, with the brethren, about my quest for holy living for almost my entire life. I grew up listening to the constant drum beat of "be ye holy, for I am holy" and "holiness without which no man shall see God." (Let me stop here and say emphatically that I am all for holy living). The carrot that was offered was "heaven" and the stick was "missing the rapture", "the great tribulation" and eventually "the lake of fire." I tried very hard to follow all the rules and commandments, made the best effort to keep every sin, intentional and unintentional, confessed. But the goal post always seemed to be elusive and the standard unreachable. Even though I put on a "holy" face, I knew in my heart that it was such a big burden to obey all the laws and commandments and keep every single sin of thought, word and deed confessed and I wasn't doing a good job at it. I tried to compare myself with others and console myself that I wasn't a big sinner as some others were. But my Christian life was like running on a treadmill, running hard but getting nowhere and honestly I was getting frustrated.

But thanks be to the Lord, that He opened my eyes to see that I could "never" live this holy life by my efforts. He also gave me a glimpse of how much He loved me and how much I was forgiven - not because I was a "good" Christian or was good at keeping my sins confessed, but rather while I was yet a sinner, He loved me and died for me. He saw me in my most wretched condition and yet He chose me. Now the words of Jesus, "but to whom little is forgiven, the same loveth little" made sense to me. This revelation of how much I was forgiven and loved by Him caused me to fall in love with Him as never before. What was the result of this love relationship? - I started living holier "accidentally" and "effortlessly" than I ever did by my efforts, trying to escape hell. No wonder Jesus said, "If you love me, you will keep my commandments." I found out experientally that "love fulfills the law ."

Moreover, I found out that I was already holy, not by my holy living, but because He had washed me and made me holy and the Holy One had taken up residence in me. Now, the exhortations in the New Testament for holy living started making sense to me - "you are in light, so walk as children of light" and "walk worthy of your calling." In other words, live out who you are. You are holy, therefore live holy. All my life I was trying to put the cart before the horse. I was trying to live holy to "become" holy, not knowing that holy living was to be a fruit of my being holy. Not only that I was trying to do it in my strength, not knowing that the only Person (Jesus) who could live holy was now living in me.

Dear one, can you see the subtle difference between living under the drudgery of legalistic religion and living in true holiness? It is a simple yet subtle difference of either being on the treadmill of "becoming" holy by holy living or living holy because you are already holy. It is so simple that it is very easy to miss it, but if you get it, it will change your walk with the Lord forever.

So what was the missing ingredient in my quest for holy living? T'was Love! Say "Yes" to love and "No" to fear, because fear has torment, but perfect love casts out fear!!


Joel Brueseke said...

Great stuff!

Anonymous said...

I want to emphasize the personal pronoun "I". Ezekiel 36:25-27....."Then "I" will sprinkle clean water on you, and you will be clean; "I" will cleanse you from all your filthiness and from all your idols. Moreover, "I" will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you; and "I" will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh, (one that will respond to spiritual stimili). "I" will put My Spirit within you and cause you to walk in My statues, and you will be careful to observe My ordinances.

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