July 26, 2019
When You Keep on Sinning
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” (1 Peter 1:15-16, NIV).
Friend to Friend
Holy. What a far-and-away, impossibly elusive word. While I can somewhat wrap my simple mind around the holiness of God, it’s hard to understand how I could ever be like Him. I can imagine Him on His throne, with the rest of us singing an eternal chorus of “Holy, holy, holy is the Lord God almighty!” However, this call to live a holy, sinless, blameless life… has always left me shaking my head and shaking in my boots (just a bit).
I know myself too well. I know my on-going self-centered sin-tendencies. I’m ashamed how easily my eyes move off of Christ to the things of this world - from the Giver to the gifts. As my eyes slip from Christ, Christ slips from the throne of my life. Starbucks, Target, social media, and popularity slip easily into His rightful place as Master of my days.
How can I possibly live holy when I keep getting tangled up in this present life? My spirit is willing, but my flesh is weak (Matt 26:41). It’s a constant battle, and I’m not alone in the struggle. Even the apostle Paul, who encountered the resurrected Christ face-to-face, could not pull off this holy life on his own. Paul confessed: “I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do… For I do not do the good I want to do, but the evil I do not want to do—this I keep on doing” (Romans 7:15,19, NIV).
Holiness, this side of heaven, seems impossible. Except, Christ Himself said that with God all things are possible, even our holiness. Whether you struggle with alcohol or anger, binge-eating, consumerism, gossip or fear, holiness is possible! Not just forgiveness, but holiness!
God made the impossible possible when Christ did the impossible for us! We are holy, regardless of our on-going sin-struggles, because God, through Christ, made us holy. Simple and yet so complicated. When God sent His Son to die in our unholy place, Christ Jesus traded place with us. He took our sin upon Himself, then took the punishment for our sin. But He didn’t just take it and endure it, He literally took it away from us… all the way to the grave. Christ completely demolished our sin, which lead to His death, when He rose again. He crushed our unholiness, leaving us draped in His holiness!
I can hear a few of you groaning as I type, “Yes, Wendy, I know all that, but I keep on sinning. I want to stop sinning! That’s what seems impossible.”
Sweet sister, God dying for our sins isn’t the end of the story. Truly, it is the springboard into the on-going holy-life we want (the life God wants for us.) You see, God only asked us to live holy after He made us Holy! All the Old Testament rules and regulations couldn’t do it, only Christ could. When Christ hung on the cross in our place, He uttered the words, “It is finished.” Once and for all and forever, our unholiness was dealt with.
“...as far as the east is from the west, so far does he remove our transgressions from us” (Psalm 103:12, ESV).
Our job now is to cultivate Holier Habits. After Christ made us holy, His HOLY SPIRIT came into our lives to enable us to live holy! The Helper lets us know when we are not keeping in step with the holy life we’ve received through Christ. As we spend time with Him, He changes us to look more like Him. However, while in process, we aren’t to simply wait for the miracle transformation. This is the secret: We need to start living different today. We can begin by intentionally creating holier habits.
This is more than simply stopping a sinful behavior, it’s replacing that behavior with a right (and righteous) response.
- If you struggle with gossip, create a habit of blessing. Look for lovely things to say directly to a person, rather than snarky things about them behind their back. Don’t just kick yourself for doing wrong, make the choice to do right!
- If you shop compulsively, attempting to fill your heart as you fill your online basket, make a new (less expensive) habit. Get into God’s Word. While Amazon Prime promises to deliver what you want in two days, recognize that Christ is knocking at the front door right now! He’s all you need. Open up your Bible and let Him consume you rather than you consuming everything that’s for sale.
- If you struggle with drinking alcohol in excess or eating compulsively, cultivate the holy habit of fasting. Then make the habit of not ever eating sweets or drinking wine alone. Breaking bread with others is another holy habit.
- If you struggle with anger at home with your children, take the time to prepare more Christ-like responses. Consider when you tend to be most triggered, then come up with a gentler, more Biblical way to deal with their immaturity so that you don’t join them with an immature (unholy) reaction of your own.
Sisters, being holy doesn't mean you never sinned, it simply means you’ve been cleansed from sin. However, since we’ve been forgiven, let’s get intentional about creating a right (and righteous) way to live. With God’s help and a little imagination, I know that you can pin-point those sin-habits and make holier habits today.
Dear Lord, Thank you for making me holy. I couldn’t ever do it on my own! What’s more, you didn’t just forgive me of my sins and then leave me alone to figure out how to stop sinning! You gave me your Holy Spirit to guide, convict, and counsel me. With your help I’m learning to live this holy life. Thank you for lifting me from the mud and the mire and giving me a spacious place to stand up right. Please continue to help me understand how to cultivate holier habits, so that I don’t slip into my old mess again.
I humbly ask this in Jesus’ cleansing Name,
Now It’s Your Turn
What is your on-going battle? Do you believe that you’ve been forgiven from past sins, but continue to sin today? Let me encourage you to pinpoint your main struggle and make a proactive plan to cultivate holier habits… because God has made you holy. Let’s live like it’s true today!
More from the Girlfriends
Do you struggle with the sin of anger in your parenting? Check out Wendy’s book, Triggers: Exchanging Parents’ Angry Reactions for Gentle, Biblical Responses. Or maybe your struggle with with food fixation and sugar addiction. Pre-order the new book The 40 Day Sugar Fast. Spend forty days fasting from sugar and feasting on Christ! More than a physical detox, this is about spiritual transformation! Transformed to live holy, because Christ made us holy. That’s what we’re after!
Wendy Speake: As a trained actress and heartfelt Bible teacher, Wendy ministers to women’s hearts through storytelling and Biblical life application. During her career in Hollywood, on shows such as JAG, Melrose Place, and Star Trek Voyager, Wendy found herself longing to tell stories that edify and encourage women. Today she does just that, writing parenting books and performing dramatic Bible lessons for women’s groups, taking every opportunity to point audiences (as well as family and friends) to Jesus. Author of The 40 Day Sugar Fast, and co-author of Triggers, Parenting Scripts, and Life Creative. Wendy resides in Southern California with her husband and their 3 ruddy boys. Connect with her on Facebook or Instagram today.
Originally published Friday, 26 July 2019.