I began this year reading a short article in The Baptist Digest titled "Not My Enemy!" and the truth within it has been following me around now for about 26 days waiting to be written, yet not completed. Yesterday I was knocked into bed with some type of bug that completely zapped me of all energy and made every joint in my body ache. Today as I continue to rest and recover I determined to put this New Year's thought down in writing. This post is only one of many that should follow as God works in my life throughout 2013 and beyond.
The most thought provoking quote (of a quote) in this article that I have been trying to digest over the last several weeks is "I love how Dr. Gary Thomas asks in Sacred Marriage, 'What if God intends to make us holy and not happy?'" This quote has left me in a quandary. My mind has been consumed with thoughts and questions such as - My happiness is not directly related to the holiness God desires I develop. Holiness and happiness are not the same (didn't I know this?). Do they co-exist? What is it in those unhappy moments that God is trying to teach me about holiness? It seems as I further explore these thoughts, God brings to mind verses of wisdom in those "unhappy" moments that indicate to me there is a long journey ahead.
I was also challenged in this Proverbs 31 Ministries post by Rachel Olsen to chose one word to focus on for the year. One word that is representative of what I hope Jesus will do in or through me. One word that will help give me direction. Yes, you've probably guessed it. I've chosen my word. Maybe my word chose me. Regardless, the word, my word is holy. Although I may have tried to avoid it and delay the post that might make it official. It was the first word that provoked serious contemplation as I began 2013. It continues to challenge me in my thoughts and actions. I struggle. I struggle hard. Especially as I see the areas God is trying to teach me to be holy even at the expense of my happiness. This is no small word. This is no simple task. It can't be accomplished in one written blog post, not even one or two days, months or years. It won't be accomplished by church attendance or fellowship functions or even in Sunday School - although each of these things can by good and helpful. This word, this process, is a lifelong challenge to become something I am not, yet something God desires me to be. Holiness is not an accessory that I can wear when it matches my outfit. Holiness is what God desires from me 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year. His word speaks to me, it calls me to be holy, to be set apart, to be light in the darkness. The goal is set before me. The finish line is not in sight, but the race is underway.
"Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us." Hebrews 12:1
"For he chose us in him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight." Ephesians 1:4
"You were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires; to be made new in the attitude of your minds; and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness." Ephesians 4:22-24
"But just as he who called you is holy, so be holy in all you do; for it is written: 'Be holy, because I am holy.'" 1 Peter 1:15-16