The Way of the Cross – Lenten Season 2018
“I am the vine, you are the branches. If a man remains in me and I in him, he will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing……if you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be given you. This is to my Father’s glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples” (John 15: 5,7,8 NIV).
The Three Truths of Holiness
The first truth of a holy life is that the abundant life of full surrender and consecration to His service is the NORMAL Christian life (which includes unconscious and unintentional sin and pollution of sin lived in humility in the shadow of the cross). The abundant life is the normal Christian life.
The second truth of a holy life is that living in sin (whether intentional, conscious sin or spiritual drift) is dangerous to your spiritual health and demands a relational answer to the question of whether or not we are saved and if so, whether or not we want fellowship with God more than we want to live in sin (if saved and immature we are like a married man living like a single guy in a bar flirting with the barmaid). Living in sin and complacency is dangerous to your soul.
The third truth of a holy life is that relational maturity is the “complex good” work of God which he does as we seek the “simple good” of character maturity making every effort in faith to please God while living the abundant life walking in the Spirit but sometimes failing and falling into conscious sin temporarily. Holiness is a heart set apart for God.
Holiness is the desire to be exclusive (set apart) to God and intimate with Him so that you can know Him and enjoy Him forever and expresses itself in a heartfelt participation in the process of growing in Christlike character in the context of relational maturity.
Without holiness, the Bible says, we will not see the Lord. The problem is that holiness is not merely moral perfection but a heart set apart exclusively for God growing in character in the context of ongoing growth in relational maturity.
It’s like saying, without true love, every marriage is a sham. True. Relational and character growth in the context of a marriage commitment empowered by the humility of confession, repentance, forgiveness and reconciliation based on the cross of Christ makes for a very romantic and ministry oriented marital relationship.
True oneness (unity). True glory. True holiness.
But it is a oneness or unity in Christ. It is the glory of Christ in us and it is the holiness of Christ lived out in our lives. That holiness is relational.
Holiness is being set apart for a relationship with God resulting in service to others. Holiness is revealing the glory of God through a Christlike character in the context of a growing intimate love for God.
It is the holiness of walking in the Spirit in the righteousness of Christ set apart unto good works as a living, walking testimony of someone who loves God and wants to please Him out of true love not for the temporal benefits.
Without that true love for God rooted in Christ, we will not see the Lord.
You may be married, but the question is “do you truly love your spouse?” Given that 50% of marriages end in divorce and the other 50% mostly live in complacency and often stay together for the kids and or their social/spiritual reputation or fear of being alone and rejected, the question stands. Yes, there are bright spots and exceptions, but the question still stands.
Do you truly love God? If the answer is no, but I truly want to, you are on the right track. That is the evidence of the Holy Spirit in your life.
And furthermore, how do you know? What is the evidence of your love? or your desire to learn to love?
Is it passive and complacent or passionate and romantic? How does it hold up under pressure, temptation and time? If true love is the litmus test of our salvation, would we admit that we aren’t actually Christians at all or perhaps luke-warm and immature and in desperate need of repentance?
If the call to abundant living makes you feel guilty and pressured, it’s time to recheck your relationship to God. Are you in a relationship with God through the work of Christ empowered by the Holy Spirit, or not?
If the abundant life is something you desire, then get on your knees and humble yourself and pray because adventure and power and blessing beyond measure await those who are committed to true love (in marriage and in spirituality).
Holiness is a matter of the heart. Holiness is a mature, exclusive, true love for God in full surrender and consecration to his service in the context of quick confession and ongoing repentance/discipleship when we sin. We desire fellowship with God over a life apart from Him in sin and rebellion and it is possible because of the cross, the glory of God expressed in the work and person of Jesus Christ.
It is the holiness of Christ in us that is our hope of glory.
The Desert Warrior
P.S. Let’s talk to God…..
Lord, you know the cry of my heart is to live in your presence, in the abundant life in your Spirit. I cannot do it without your help but I also know that I must make every effort as well. I also know that this lifestyle of faith and abundance was meant to be lived together with other believers. Help me to find a small group of believers that can help each other live this normal Christian life of abundance and spiritual prosperity even in the desert. In your name I pray. Amen.