Do you ever feel like you are on a carousel riding toward holiness, only to find yourself going round and round with the same view and sin while the elusive holiness never comes into sight?
I went to bed last night tired from a day that should have gone differently. And I was the one holding the power to change it. I knew there would be an opportunity to complain, so I prayed my words would be life-giving and necessary. I clearly heard God say; they don't need your opinion; they need your solutions. Did I listen? Nope. Instead, I verbally vomited all my complaints/opinions to my boss. Ugh!
Why do I do this? The prospect of offering solutions should be enough, even without a directive to skip my opinions. But I had to make it all about me. Double ugh!!
Yet he joyfully let it all go so he could know the power of Jesus' resurrection and take part in the sufferings.
Last night, before sleep, I asked for forgiveness for selfishness, pride, and disobedience. But I spent more time reminding myself why it's not about me and always about Jesus. Philippians 3 inspires me to let go of my pride and allow myself to be a reflection of the light of Jesus. Paul had so much reason to be filled with pride; he was nearly royalty as a Pharisee, yet he joyfully let it all go so he could know the power of Jesus' resurrection and take part in the sufferings.
Friends, I won't get to holiness without taking up the cross. I want to be holy, but I want it to happen without the hard, without the challenges. It won't. I know this. I ask for opportunities to grow, and he blesses me with them. I choose selfishness rather than Jesus. And then I struggle with missed opportunities and self-loathing, riding that carousel with the same view and sin.
Today my Bible reading was Judges 19, 20, and 21. Now, these are my least favorite chapters in the entire Bible. They are just so evil. After falling so short yesterday, I wasn't at all excited to read this. I'm never excited to read these chapters! But today, God blessed me with a glimpse of His faithfulness even when His chosen people were living in anarchy, each one doing as he saw fit. These tribes of Israel, doing horrific things, went to God and asked Him what to do, and He answered them and eventually helped them. He continued to be faithful when they were not.
I won't get to holiness without taking up the cross.
Paul wanted the power of the resurrection. "With great power comes great responsibility." (Peter Parker's Uncle Ben) Paul was willing to take the responsibility that comes with that power, suffering like Jesus.
I want to be holy, but am I willing to take on the responsibility, the sacrifice that goes with that? While I am not there yet, Paul reminds me to forget what is behind, strain towards what is ahead, and press on to the goal. (Philippians 3:13-14) I understand the cost, and I am going to strive to make it less about me and more about Jesus. Maybe that carousel will change its course yet!
How about you? What can you do to grow closer to the holiness God wants for you?