Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Life, Liberty, & the Pursuit of Holiness

Before receiving Christ and committing my life to Him, I had a sense of emptiness. Even when I felt happy, there seemed to be something missing. I always felt there had to be a greater purpose in life. Satisfaction and contentment seemed to elude me. In the bad times the hopelessness seemed almost too much to bear and the sense of aloneness overwhelming. I look back now and realize how thirsty my soul was for a relationship with its Creator. I believed in the existence of God. I believed in the existence of Jesus and even in the existence of the Holy Spirit. But I realize that even the demons believe and they tremble. If I am drowning and someone throws me a life preserver, I have to know how to utilize that life preserver to save my life. If I don't go beyond knowing God exists and arrive at a relationship with Him, I will never fill the emptiness in my heart. The age old question, "What is the meaning of life" is easily answered in the Word of God. We were created for Him!! It's that plain and that simple. We were created for His purposes, His pleasure, His glory. Am I always "happy" now that I have a great relationship with the Lord? No. But I am always filled with joy and more importantly the assurance that even in the not-so-good times I have a Savior that has promised to never leave me alone and a resolve within my heart that He is working all things together for good. However, that "good" He is working is not necessarily my definition of "good". God sees all, knows all and has the wisdom required to use my life for HIS purposes and I trust Him because I know His character and that He loves me.
The world will tell you that Christianity is a set of rules and regulations and that entering a relationship with Jesus means giving up everything and anything that is "fun". This couldn't be further from the truth. As a matter of fact, entering a relationship with Jesus sets you free to choose a life of holiness. Paul tells us in 1 Corinthians 10:23-24 "We are allowed to do all things, but not all things are good for us to do. We are allowed to do all things, but not all things help others grow stronger.  Do not look out only for yourselves. Look out for the good of others also." So, in essence, a life without Christ is a life of bondage where we are giving in to our own desires rather than being free by the Spirit of God to honor the One that created us. Without the Lord in our lives, we are destined to carry the burdens of life ourselves. God never intended for it to be that way. He lifts our burdens and we are able to rest in the fact that He sustains us and gives us exactly what we need each day to make it thorough victoriously. So, you see dear friends, after we commit our lives to Christ, He gives us liberty and freedom to walk out the rest of our days honoring Him.
Once we develop our relationship with Christ and realize the unbelievable price He paid for us and how He set us free, we can't help but desire to give our lives back to Him. It's not about "buying" our salvation, rather a reasonable act of worship to say, "Lord, I am so grateful for all You have done for me and I love You so much but I recognize I have nothing to offer you. Nothing that would even come close to commensurate the sacrifice you made. So, I offer you my life, a living sacrifice. Have Your way in me. Mold me and make me and remake me into the person You desire me to be. Use me to glorify You. This kind of surrender pleases the Lord and releases our burdens. We trade the stress of making our lives count in the way we think they should in exchange for His will, purposes and plans for us. We no longer live for self but dedicate our days to honoring Him and our fellow man. This pursuit for Holiness reminds us that only the Lord in us can cause us to walk in victory and in ways that would draw others to Him.  

Hebrews 12:14 "Pursue peace with everyone, and holiness, since no one will see God without it."

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