the spiritual life is a choice between a smooth path that everyone else uses and a rough, seldom-used path. The choice is not between good and better. No, the choice is between being just like everyone else or being like Jesus Christ – a holy person. Yeah, the choice is THAT stark. Which person do you want to be?
Do you like to hike? I do. Well, sort of. I’ll go for a nature walk with my family at a local park every once in a while. I like to know where we’re headed so I tend to like the trails where I can get a map and see where we will end up when we are done.
I also like to take it easy on these nature walks. Because of this I tend to take the beaten path…I figure that if everyone is taking a particular trail, it can’t be all that hard. I use the excuse that I’m 51 with bad knees to justify not taking the challenging path. This, of course, isn’t always the best thing to do. Every now and then I feel I should be taking the more challenging though seldom used trails. Those trails would provide adventure, a physical challenge that would help me get in good shape and new discoveries. Sadly, I rarely take these paths.
You know, taking the easy road is often the road we take in our spiritual journey as well. We choose silence if our words would cause us discomfort in the world. Even if those words are truth that the world so desperately needs to hear. We choose to criticize others instead of evaluating ourselves because that make us feel better. We choose to be brave with our our words yet timid with our actions because words are cheap while actions are expensive. Some do these things more than others. But we all do them. But this should never be.
Like my hiking analogy, the spiritual life is a choice between a smooth path that everyone else uses and a rough, seldom-used path. The choice is not between good and better. No, the choice is between being just like everyone else or being like Jesus Christ – a holy person. Yeah, the choice is THAT stark. Which person do you want to be?
Holiness: The Way of Life
The Bible is full of examples and admonitions for the Christian to be holy. Included in this series will be both positive and negative examples. We’ll take time to look at examples of what holiness looks like (positive) and what it does not look like (negative). I’ll be sharing stories from my own life and experience as a pastor, pulpit-filling preacher and a layman to drive home the points made. I trust this will be as convicting as the Nehemiah series was (to me at least).
With the pressure to conform to the world’s way coming not only from the world but also from some in the church, holiness is needed more than ever. I’m not talking about what appears to be holy behavior. Anyone can fake it for a while and fool people. I’m talking about true holiness as a character trait that will show itself as behavior.
There is a big difference between those who behave in order to look holy and those who are holy. For those who change their behavior to look holy are simply washing the outside of their cup before drinking out of it. It looks good on the outside but inside it is still as dirty as ever. Someone who is holy has his cup washed from the inside first then the outside. To truly change one’s behaviors, one must truly change their character. It isn’t easy. But nothing worthwhile is ever easy.
If we choose to be holy – not through behavior modification but through life change – then the behaviors will take care of themselves. But if someone simply changes their behavior, well, they’re still the same person. They just appear to be different. And truly that is not different at all. The choice is between the easy path and the hard path. One is often used because it is wide, paved and easy to walk. The other is seldom used, unpaved, rocky, pothole-filled and a difficult climb.
A choice is set before us. It is a choice of the easy way and the hard way. The easy way is paved, slopes gently downhill, is fairly straight and has plenty of room to navigate it. The difficult way is unpaved, filled with potholes, ditches, exposed roots, is a pretty steep uphill climb and is narrow and difficult to navigate. Which one will I choose? Which will you choose? I know which one I SHOULD choose in order to live the fullest, most God-pleasing life. But WILL I choose it?
Will I – and you – chose it?