I was driving home after church today, the car was quiet, and as I was making my way to Wendy’s to meet Kim and the kids, this thought hit me. I don’t know what brought it on, but it was pretty interesting to me. I was thinking through a statement that I heard from a friend recently and have at times said myself. “If you knew how I use to be,….” The context of the statement was in relation to living life as a Christ Follower and recognizing the “progress” that has been made toward living a Jesus-centered life vs the BC life (Before Christ). Here’s the thought that came into my head:
Our standard in following Jesus is not the depth of our depravity in our past vs our lives now, but it is the depth of the holiness that is in Jesus.
It brought to mind some verses from 1 Peter 1:15-16
But now you must be holy in everything you do, just as God who chose you is holy. For the Scriptures say, “You must be holy because I am holy.”
2 thoughts really stuck out to me as I thought through this. I think there are two extremes of where I see this unfortunately fleshed out in my own life at times and that need to be noted.
1. That does not mean that I should become the legalist or the self-righteous judge. Legalism is just a shell, it’s plastic, it’s empty, looks good on the outside but there is no grace, no relationship, and is just empty. It demands that you first “look good” on the outside, and often doesn’t ask the question of why am I doing this? I look back over my life and when I first came to Christ, I think I swung more toward this leaning.
2. It also doesn’t mean that I stop trying to bring areas of my life (my thoughts, my habits, my attitudes, my words, my schedule, my appetites, etc.) into alignment with and submission to Jesus. I think that many of us, including myself, live our lives with this mindset: I’m holy enough. I think this is an area that many of us that are trying to do ministry to reach the unchurched in a modern/relevant way struggle with. I know I do. The temptation is there to get as close as I can to the edge in order to be cutting edge. To be honest, there have been times where I have been TOO impressed by gadgets, toys, blogs, church strategy, vision, videos, sermons and the latest worship/media whatever and not nearly impressed by the holiness of Jesus.
…and I don’t really have a quick close, answer, conclusion either. Each person must work out their salvation “with fear and trembling.” This thought HAS really challenged me to think through more closely the WHY in my life though. Would love to hear your thoughts on that. Do you struggle with this?