Does God Want Holiness?

does-God-want-HolinessIt was the most powerful time I can remember in Bible college. We started the morning with worship and prayer as any other normal day, but today was different. As we worshipped and focussed on God, the teacher began to speak prophetic words over each of the students. As he made his way, one by one, each word seemed to hit the nail on the proverbial head. Every student, upon receiving a word, broke down in tears. These tears were not from being convicted or sad, but rather love and comfort as the words confirmed everything that was in the individual’s heart.

My word was that I was “different.” Now everyone knew that I dressed a bit different with my wide-collared 70’s shirts and bell-bottoms, but to me this was so much deeper. I was always passionate about revivalists of the passed like Smith Wigglesworth and John G Lake. I was convinced that I could do what they did if I only worked harder at purifying myself and becoming more holy. When Jesus said the “Blessed are the pure in heart for they shall see God” I felt like He was talking to me and I was determined that I would see Him, as Enoch walked with God; even if I was the only one.

The books, stories and account of these fathers of the faith made them out to be super human. Stories never reflect struggle, but victory. They tend to leave out the personal details that make the story realistic and attainable.

I was setup up to lose.

Each week in and out, I struggled and prayed to God to give me the strength to do what is right and lead the perfect, pure life that I thought He expected. I would try to wake up early to pray and read my Bible only to last a couple days before sleeping in; failing once again. I would pray the loudest and hardest during prayer meetings, and during worship, I would sing the loudest, raise my hands the highest, and ensure that I was found bowing when the song said “We bow down.” I gave my tithe off the gross paycheque amount and gave offerings over and above. I rarely missed a church service, even if I was sick or my family was. I would give up virtually anything that would be scheduled at the same time as a church service.

To get more power of God operating in my life, I even fasted 40 days on water! I never listened to secular music, or even mainstream Christian music. If I was going to be set apart, it was only worship music for me. I would never watch a movie that had a higher rating than PG and I never watched the news because there was nothing to build my faith. If I read a book, it was going to be the Bible rather than an author’s interpretation or revelation of it. I would spend countless hours volunteering at church whenever I had free time often forgoing sleep to complete projects with that had a very short shelf-life. I was going to prove to the leaders and God that I was different.

I was extreme, because I believed that I was supposed to “be like Christ”, our example. The harder I tried, the harder it got. I always feared that Jesus would come back the one moment I had messed up, and I would hear Him say “I never knew you”. But I tried and tried to know Him more and do what I thought pleased Him. I was never good enough, never perfect enough, even with His grace! I would watch sermon after sermon of preaching on holiness and revival, continually feeling like it was up to me. I was in a race and I was determined to sprint to the finished line to earn my prize.

The problem was, I thought His grace was there to cover me when I fell short. It was like my efforts would get me a cup that was 2/3rds full and He would “top it up” at the gates of Heaven. It doesn’t work like that. Though I had good intentions, I never knew the heart of the Father.

All the effort, good deeds, time and money was good, but never attained what I had hoped for. How could I be holy, perfect and righteous. I was Spirit-filled, knew how to pray and had some knowledge of scripture (as passed down through man not personal study), but still found myself messing up. I misunderstood the grace of God and read the Bible through the eyes of man rather than a loving Father.

Holiness is unattainable by man. In order to be holy, it has to be all or none. 100% and nothing less will do. I was far from the truth, but by His grace and mercy, the good Father that He is, He began revealing what it means to be a son. He sees me as He sees Jesus. He will NEVER leave or forsake us. He is always right beside us, cheering us on.

Holiness has absolutely NOTHING to do with us. Not even a little, wee bit. There is only One who is Holy and we could NEVER be holy without Him. I cannot look more holy to God, more pure, more righteous, and perfect than I do right now in this moment. I know it has everything to do with Christ and so does the Father. He sees the real you and me who is wrapped up COMPLETELY in Christ.

When Christ said “Blessed are those who are pure in heart, for they shall see God”, He was speaking in future tense! He knew that it would be possible for man to be pure (complete and perfect) because of Him. It was, and is, and will always be about Jesus.

Let’s take another look at the scripture…

Mat 7:22-23 On judgment day many will say to Me, ‘Lord! Lord! We prophesied in Your name and cast out demons in Your name and performed many miracles in Your name.’ But I will reply, ‘I never knew you. Get away from Me, you who break God’s laws.’

I have always believed it was talking about knowing Christ and keeping the laws, BUT I thought I knew Him and kept His laws! The first verse talks about people who will trust their efforts for salvation, righteousness, and holiness. How do I know this? Christ said that they would automatically defend their works.

Judging by my works I must have a had great faith? Wrong. That is backwards. Works do not produce faith, but those who believe in the Truth, only found in Christ, will be compelled to do good works. My focus was not on Christ.

I will leave you with this…

God is Holy and so are you, because it has absolutely nothing to do with you and EVERYTHING to do with Jesus! You are created in His image. Look at His image (Jesus) to see the real you! THAT is how the Father sees you! Selah.