Tuesday, December 13, 2011

I Might Be a Kook If ... The Virtue of HOLINESS

Therefore, preparing your minds for action, and being sober-minded, set your hope fully on the grace that will be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ. As obedient children, do not be conformed to the passions of your former ignorance, but as He who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct …
- 1 Peter 1: 13-15 (ESV)

Everyone is watching.

As I sit in the line-up waiting to paddle in to a wave I realize I’m watching too. I want to ride a wave. Truthfully, I don’t know how very well. I’ve been known to catch a wave or two, maybe even ride one standing up but, I’m no Wahine.

I’m watching because I want to learn. To be in the line-up usually means you know how to catch a wave. I rely on the kindness and compassion of my fellow surfers to allow me to try. We have a common bond – a relentless dedication to the promise of the ultimate “stoke.” I experienced the joy body surfing as a child. I’m committed to recapturing the thrill as an adult.

I often find the pressure to succeed overwhelming. I want to surf not perform. I already know my skill set is lacking. But, I want a chance to try. I’m often labeled a “kook” even when I’m being sincere simply because I don’t measure up.

People are funny this way. If we participate in their self-righteous legalism we permit uncomfortable feelings of unworthiness, guilt, and condemnation to consume us. If I see God only as judge and not also a God of mercy and grace then, I might experience Him similarly.

I’m certain more people would surf given the right encouragement and discipleship. I also believe more people would become a “true” disciple of Jesus if they knew they could “paddle in” without the pressure to succeed. Once I experienced the living God for myself, “the ultimate stoke,” I set-out to pursue more of this spiritual payoff with relentless dedication. And, in pursuit of God my skill set is improving too.  I’m learning to “surf” more and more like Christ.

A disciple’s relentless dedication is puzzling to those who haven’t caught a “single wave.” I’m resigned to watch, observe, try, ask questions, seek wisdom, and keep trying. If I have anything going for me, it’s this: I love Jesus with my whole heart, I’m thankful for His forgiveness, and I want to join Him in His work to rescue, redeem, and restore all God’s creation in a right relationship with Him.

How about you?

I’ll “paddle in” and give it my best effort to “ride a wave” regardless of the outcome and regardless of what people think of me. The timeless transcendent dimension of experiencing God compels me – it’s the same thrill a surfer encounters.

Yes, I might be labeled a “kook” for doing so. The people He wants me to reach with His message of hope and healing are far more important than my reputation and my acceptance.

God’s directive for holiness is not what most people understand it to be - perfect “goody, goodiness.” Rather, it is the humble recognition of our un-holiness in the presence of His perfection together with our trust in His complete sacrifice for our condition and His power to change us.

Join me as I ask myself how well I align with these God breathed Biblical principles on holiness.

¨     I believe holiness begins with my faith and hope in the resurrected Christ and the grace this affords me (1 Peter 2:9, 1 Peter 1:2).
¨     I recognize I’m righteous before God not because of anything I do but because of Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross (Romans ).
¨     I continue to work out my salvation with fear and trembling (Philippians 2:12, 1 Peter 1:17-18) by submitting to being transformed by the renewing of my mind (Romans 12:2) as I endure hardship as discipline (Hebrews 12:7) putting off all behaviors that hinder (Hebrews 12:1).
¨     I understand God wants my undivided love for Him and my allegiance to His Word more than my religious activity (Psalm 51:16-17; 19).
¨     I promise to love my neighbor earnestly from a pure heart with compassion, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience, bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgive each other; as the Lord has forgiven me (Colossians 2:12-17).
¨     I am to be content and thankful (1 Timothy 6:6, 1 Thessalonians ) knowing that God is for me not against me.

If we are content to test the strength of our character, our courage, and our use of resources, then why limit our purposes for temporal pleasure? Why not pursue extreme ways for eternal purposes?


Anonymous said...

This Christmas season we have a great example of a "holy" person in Mary. When her world was rocked by unplanned events her only reaction was to praise God and magnify Him. This was possible because she was humble and her lifes foundation was God and His word - That's what made her holy and just look at what God used her for!