By: Emily Armstrong
Bible Reading: 1 Thessalonians 4:7 NIV
“For God did not call us to be impure, but to live a holy life.”
As human beings, when we are given the option between something clean and something dirty, I think most of us would choose cleanliness, right? Personally, I like the floors of my house to be clean, my kitchen counters to be free of crumbs, my desk to be tidy, and my car to never have old fast-food wrappers littered in the back seat. Life is a lot better that way, no?
If we can agree that a clean life is more pleasing than a dirty or disordered life, why is it so difficult to keep our lives that way? Why do I continually have to teach my kids that it’s better to use a sponge and soap when they are washing the dishes instead of just letting water rinse them?
The same can be true when we look at our spiritual lives and holiness. It is FAR better to live in holiness than in sin – we already know that because we have experienced it! How is it so easy, then, to separate ourselves from something that is so beneficial?
We can be apathetic: In the first verse of 1 Thessalonians 4, Paul exhorts the church to “live in order to please God.” When we talk about holiness, there is a tendency to see it as a point in life: the moment I gave my life to God and was filled with the Holy Spirit. Yet, holiness is not just a moment; it is a daily process of becoming more like Christ in everything we speak, act, and think. Every day, through the power of the Holy Spirit in our lives, we are PROGRESSING in the way of life that pleases God. If we continue to have the same thoughts, actions, or words that characterized our lives of many years ago when we had “the moment” of sanctification, that should serve as a warning. We should be more intentional with our daily lives, so that we progress in our journey in holiness.
We can love even more. Going back to the passage, in verse 10 we see that Paul is asking for the Church to love MORE AND MORE. Paul pleads with them to live in peace with everyone, which should remind us of the words of the author of Hebrews: “Make every effort to live in peace with all men and to be holy; without holiness no one will see the Lord.” Peace with others is intimately linked with holiness – peace with others is HOW we manage to love more and more. We are living in days in our society when the Church is in as many lawsuits as secular people. We are angry at people who don’t have the same perspective on politics as we do; we break up friendships and even family relationships with people who think differently. What does this lack of peace in the Church say about holiness? It should tell us that we have lots of work! The Christian mandate is to be like Christ, the Prince of Peace. So, if we lack constant peace in our lives, it’s an indicator that we are not living “holy as He is Holy.”
God called us to holiness. Period. It is the call of God on each of our lives. Thanks to Him, we don’t have to question whether we are living holy lives, because He has given us some “metrics,” so to speak. We know if we are making progress in a life that pleases God when we are different than we were a week, a month, and a year ago. We know that we are loving more and more when we seek peace with everyone. And thank God that he has given us his Holy Spirit to empower us to do the work – we are not alone. Let’s ask God today to show us the areas of our lives in which we are apathetic or the relationships that need our attention, and let’s once again sanctify our lives to the Lord.
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