Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Does God Really Care About Holiness?

Sin has been the struggle of every man and woman since the serpent beguiled Eve in the garden.  It didn't take much persuasion for him to alter the destiny of every human being created in the image of God.  There is a belief held among many Christians that the loving God who gave his only Son to forgive our sins, will forgive us even if we knowingly choose to sin, as long as we confess the sins we commit.  But that isn't quite how it works.  Sure, God will forgive our sins if we confess and repent, or turn away from them.  But, he also justly allows us to suffer the consequences of our sinful choices even when he forgives us for them. 

God's rules were not given to restrict us but to protect us from the inherent evil and dangers of living in a fallen world.  His requirement that we be holy as he is holy wasn't made to frustrate us, but to bring us to a place of peaceful, abundant living where our fellowship with him is unhindered by our sin.   Only by walking in obedience to his Word can we experience the joy and fulfillment that he promises us.  Trust me.  I know what I am talking about because I tried to live life outside the boundaries of his righteous laws for a number of years and am still suffering residual consequences from my own sin.

You might wonder, Does God really care about holiness?  Absolutely!  It was a number of years before I understood the agony behind Christ's words on the cross:  "My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?"  For a brief moment, which to Christ must have seen like an eternity, his Father turned his face away from him because of our sin.  He who knew no sin became sin for us and his holy Father could not bear to look upon that sin! 

God loves you so much that he wants to spend eternity with you.  While that is possible when you confess your sins and ask Christ to save you, you cheat yourself of the blessings of eternity while you are still on this earth.  In other words, you can not live in the fullness of all that God has for you if you are steeped in sin and living life on your terms.  Eternity doesn't start the day you go to heaven; it begins the moment you receive Christ as Savior!  So why would you want to do anything that would stand between you and the blessings of eternal life, especially on this earth?

It has taken decades for me to come to this realization for myself.  I received Christ as a young child, then rededicated my life to him as a teenager.  I studied his Word and was very active in my youth group during high school, but when I went away to college I began to drift away from God and indulge in the things my "freedom" and adulthood allowed me to do.  I partied, saw movies that to this day have seared ungodly images into my mind, and spent my time with people who either didn't know God or didn't care to live as though they did.  I lived with a tremendous amount of guilt and shame because I knew the truth, knew that God could see and was hurt by everything I did, yet chose to put him on the back burner while I exerted my rights as an individual.  After college, my behavior only deteriorated more but God's grace protected me from the full consequences of my sins, consequences which I deserved, because he knew that one day I would turn back to him in complete surrender.  I didn't escape without deep scars, however, and habits that I formed then always lurk in the background looking for an opportunity to resurface and ruin me for anything God might have for me to do.

I don't know what pet sin you may be holding onto.  Perhaps it is a relationship that you know God disapproves of or a tendency to eat or drink just a little too much.  Or maybe you are prone to use profanity, thinking that a curse word or two here and there isn't really that harmful.  Or it could be that you simply complain a little too much about all that is wrong with the world and the people in it.  What you do not realize is that every negative thing you say, every vile image you see with your eyes, and every seemingly innocent flirtatious gesture you make toward someone else's spouse is a foothold you give the enemy and a wedge you drive between you and God.  These are things we all struggle with, but God is swift to forgive and cleanse us from our sins if we will confess and turn away from them and walk in obedience to his Word.

Take it from one who has been there and done that.  Drop your sin like a hot potato and run like crazy into the arms of Jesus.  He was tempted in every way just as we are, yet was without sin.  He understands the pull of this world and he is waiting to pull you into his arms and out of harm's way.  But he can only do his part if you do yours.  With the power of his Holy Spirit living inside you, it is indeed possible to live fully surrendered and obedient to God's Word.  It won't be easy, but believe me -- it will be so worth it!

Copyright © 2012 by Dee Dee Wike.  All rights reserved.

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