The Desire for Holiness

Originally published Monday, 16 June 2014.

Red velvet cake...perfection on a plate.

For two days I gazed at the red layers tempted by their sugary goodness-like no other to my taste buds I might add- and desired to eat more and more until it was gone. However, I had resolved not to eat anymore of this type food for a set amount of days.  As I studied the red and white layers, knowing the richness that awaited in one bite, I thought, "This is a perfect picture of temptation."

I could have silently eaten of a sliver but God would have known that I was breaking my vow. What good is a vow that is broken? Aren't the sins we commit in the hidden places the ones that haunt our psyches the most?

I will not eat of you but I will look at you, imagine eating you, and smell you once or twice.

That which tempts us promises a quick return but a length of days to undo...that is if redemption is an option. Some disobedience ends in a final verdict: an unwanted or terminated pregnancy, killing a person while driving intoxicated, loss of property you have gambled away.

I addressed this temptation the only way that I know how to with 100% success: I took it to my husband's workplace for others to eat!

This post said it so well, our sin affects more than a party of one. It snowballs to all who follow us, depend on us, and look to us with some degree of respect. If so, then the counter must be true as well:

Our holiness not only protects the direction of our lives, it also extends to the lives of our family, friends, community and therefore the world.

How holy do we truly desire to be? Holy enough, or to the standard of God's word? Will we obey all His commands or will we obey... enough?

The apostle John said, "My dear children, I write this to you so that you will not sin" (1 John 2:1). The whole purpose of John's letter, he says, is that we not sin. One day as I was studying this chapter I realized that my personal life's objective regarding holiness was less than that of John's. He was saying, in effect, "Make it your aim not to sin." As I thought about this, I realized that deep within my heart my real aim was not to sin very much. I found it difficult to say, "Yes, Lord, from here on I will make it my aim not to sin."

Yet if we have not made a commitment to holiness without exception, we are like a soldier going into battle with the aim of not getting hit very much. We can be sure if that is our aim, we will be hit -- not with bullets, but with temptation over and over again.

~Jerry Bridges, The Pursuit of Holiness (emphasis mine)

If I am being honest with myself, there is a limit to the level of holiness that I presently pursue... that I desire.  How to rectify this? Well, sending "it" to my husband's workplace is not always an option! Here are some others to employ:

  1. Prayer. Pray that the Holy Spirit would give you the desire to seek holiness and the power to live a holy life.
  2. Scripture memory. Dr. Walp taught us about making memories which are set apart. (Read his post here.) We must have God's word in our heart so that the Holy Spirit will call scriptures to mind in order for us to make wise and holy choices.
  3. Practice discipline and self-control. This requires 1. and 2.
By this we may know that we are in him: whoever says he abides in him ought to walk in the same way in which he walked.  ~ 1 John 2 5b-6