You’ve seen it. I’ve seen it. We’ve all seen them. The memes and advertisements. The tshirts and coffee mugs. The you-do-you mantra. Do what makes you happy. Is that the life that we should be living? Are we striving for happiness?
Spoiler alert! We were not put on this earth in search of happiness. Our purpose is to bring glory God.
So how do we break the mold? How do we use our time on earth to bring glory to God? We need to start searching for holiness instead of happiness.
Holy can sound like a such a BIG word. Yes, a four-lettered word, but the concept can seem grand. Holy is defined as dedicated to God. Jesus teaches honestly about the trials that we will have. He never tells us that living a life of holiness will be one of ease. In John 16:33 he states, “I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.”
Jesus plainly states that we’re not going to be happy all of the time. He lived a holy life and we’re called to be Christ-like. Yes, we’re imperfect people that cannot be just like Jesus, God knows this already. But that doesn’t mean that we’re not called to try.
Wait one minute though. Let’s set the record straight. Nowhere are you supposed to run yourself into the ground striving for perfection. Jesus is, was, and will always be perfect. We were created in the images of God. But God created us with free will. He created us even though He knew that we would be imperfect people. The point is not perfection. Holiness is not perfection. Perfection is a worldly character that is unattainable by sinful people. The cycle of striving for perfection is bondage and prevents us from living in the freedom that Christ gives us. Amen? Amen.
Another slippery slope with living a holy life is legalism. If only faith was as easy as a to-do list, a box to check, and life would be much easier. There is no checklist to a relationship with Jesus. It takes time and practice. It takes learning more and more about His character. It’s not an overnight accomplishment. Living a life of holiness is something that will be a daily struggle, sometimes hourly. It is, however, a struggle that will be totally worth it.
If you sat here and asked me for practical ways to become more holy, I’d direct you straight to Galatians 5. In verses 22-24, Paul writes, “ But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law. And those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires.” (Galatians 5:22-24 English Standard Version)
If you simply look at those words that Paul instructs us to be, we all probably think we can do that; we can live by the fruit of the Spirit. But it’s harder than we’d all like to admit.
The bible talks of three types of love; phileo, eros, and agape. Phileo is brotherly love. Eros is a romantic or sexual love. Agape is a spiritual or godly love. The fruit of the Spirit is talking about agape love. So right off the bat, we sinful humans probably aren’t living out love the way the Holy Spirit intends for us. It’s hard! That’s why we need the Holy Spirit to grow in holiness.
Along with directing you to the fruit of the Spirit, I’d also suggest prayer. It’s easy to take for granted the freedoms of prayer. At any moment you can stop and speak to our heavenly father. What a gift! Prayer gives us quality time and an intimate relationship with God. Your prayer time doesn’t need to be Pinterest-worthy, it needs to be you and God. For more information about prayer, check out Lindsay’s devotional or our favorite prayer journal from Val Marie Paper!
Living a life of holiness isn’t about our own happiness. We are called to be servants and if we’re only worried about our own happiness, we’re definitely not serving anyone besides ourselves. Holiness isn’t perfect. We’re all going to slip up, that’s where the precious gift of grace comes in. God is merciful, forgiving, and loving. A holy relationship with Him isn’t going to be an easy one, but it will be a worthy one. And a holy relationship with Him leads us to living holy lives.
Find more about Lacey on her blog!