Happiness and holiness

Ephesians 5:
25 . . . . Christ loved the church. He gave up his life for her
26 to make her holy and clean, washed by the cleansing of God’s word.
27 He did this to present her to himself as a glorious church without a spot or wrinkle or any other blemish.
Instead, she will be holy and without fault.    (New Living Bible)

Probably the greatest priority of people in the West is 'being happy'.
What a shock it is, therefore, to discover that God's priority for us is not happiness, but holiness - though, strangely, when we pursue the latter we find the former!
At first sight, holiness and happiness might seem the very opposite of one another. Yet if we see holiness as simply 'becoming like Jesus', we will understand that it is when we are at our holiest that we are also at our happiest.

All of us have heard children saying, 'When I grow up, I want to be a...'
Mike wanted to be a train driver (but never became one), while Martin wanted to write dictionaries (and certainly did).
Whether we become what we imagined or not, such desires are part of growing up.

Likewise, every Christian should have a desire to grow up - not into our own plans and ambitions, but into becoming like Jesus.
Look at his life and it's clear that no holier a man ever lived; there wasn't a trace of sin in him.
Yet Jesus lived life to the full and thoroughly enjoyed it. Surely this must tell us something about holiness.

The problem starts when we see holiness as 'yet another demand' on our already-busy lives, something else we have to 'do'.
But if we think like that, then we have lost before we have even begun.
Left to ourselves and our efforts, holiness is an impossible task, for how can unholy people make themselves like the holy God? And whenever we try to, we simply fall into a religion of works and effort, and end up disappointed, defeated and frustrated.

That is why it is important to remember that 'Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her to make her holy'.
In other words, this is all about him!
It is Jesus who not only died for us, but who works his holiness into us, as we allow his Holy Spirit to rule our lives. Our part is simply to believe his promise and co-operate with him!
Try it today and see!

2 Timothy 1: 9 For God saved us and called us to live a holy life.
He did this, not because we deserved it, but because that was his plan from before the beginning of time - to show us his grace through Christ Jesus.    (New Living Bible)

Heavenly Father,
thank You that though You are holy and I am tainted with sin,
Your desire for me is to live holy and glorify You with my life! Thank You Lord Jesus for showing us the grace and favour of God our Father, through Your death on the Cross and Your coming back from the dead, so that I could be cleansed from sin and be received into fellowship in You,    Amen.

adapted from
"Walking with God: 365 Promises and Prayers from the Bible for Every Day of the Year", compiled by Martin Manser and Mike Beaumont,   2005.

See you again tomorrow, God willing
for a new thought about
Living in God's Will!