I wrestle with perfectionism. My tendency of performing for love, lingers, and old habits are hard to break. Even in my relationship with God.
I read in my Bible of being holy–of being ‘set apart’. But I struggle to know what that means, and how it is supposed to look. Because in my everyday chaotic grind, I don’t feel holy or set-apart, at all.
I’m a doer, and a list-checker, and I want to get it right.
Can’t I just get a list from God of what I have to do?
A color-coded spreadsheet I can check off throughout my day?
A link to a downloadable printable, at the back of my Bible?
My performance-based view insists I do for God, so that my holy living proves my love for Him.
I strive to love, have joy, know peace, be patient, speak in kindness, exude goodness, be faithful, act in gentleness, and be a master of self-control. This, only the beginning of a seemingly exhausting list I need to do to get it right–to be holy and set apart for Him.
Checking off the holy behavior I do FOR God, always obscures my experience of just being WITH Him. [Tweet that]
For years I confuse being holy, with living holy. And whoever explained the difference to me anyway?
I spend this year memorizing Romans. Reciting. Meditating. Listening to teaching. Digging deeper into God’s Word. I lean in, to understand what Paul is trying to say. And it’s only then, I learn and discover the difference–the secret of how to live a holy life.
There is therefore now, no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. For the law of the Spirit of life, has set you free, in Christ Jesus, from the law of sin and death. For GOD has done what the law, weakened by the flesh could not do. By sending His Son, in the likeness of sinful flesh and for sin, He condemned sin in the flesh, in order that the righteous requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us who walk not according to the flesh but according to the Spirit. Romans 8: 1-4 (ESV)
It sinks in. Slowly.
I am His, and there is now, NO condemnation.
God did it all, and there is nothing I need to do.
And because I’m His, I do not walk in the flesh anymore, but in the Spirit.
For those who live according to the flesh, set their minds on the things of the flesh. But those who live according to the Spirit, set their minds on the things of the Spirit. For to set the mind on the flesh is death, but to set the mind on the Spirit is life and peace. Romans 8:5-6 (ESV)
Flesh. The Greek word is ‘sarkos’. It means carnal, of human origin or human empowerment.
This is what the law was all about, human trying. The entire Old Testament system was full of human beings trying to follow all the rules, offer sacrifices, and become acceptable to God through fulfilling the requirements of the law–through their own human power. But because of their propensity to sin, keeping the law was impossible. And in futility, the law (the flesh) lead to death–not physical death, but spiritual death, because of sin.
But God made a way, through Christ, for us to become spiritually alive again through His Spirit. [Tweet that]
When we profess our faith, and believe in Him, we are saved.
Saved from the endless trying in our own flesh.
Saved from the futility of the law.
And we then live by the Spirit.
Spirit. The Greek word is ‘pneuma’. It literally means wind, or breath. And that’s what God has done. Through Christ, God breathes spiritual life into us, who are spiritually dead. And Paul calls us to set our minds on the Spirit, on what God has done, and stop focusing our effort toward being made right by anything we do in our flesh.
And the promise is, that as we stop trying to make ourselves right before God in our own effort, and instead set our minds on what God has done for us, we rest in knowing He has given us spiritual life, and peace.
God has made us holy. It was all Him. He’s the One who has positioned us with Christ, and adopted us. We are His children, ‘set apart’, and holy in position.
There is nothing we can do to earn God’s love, or this holy position He’s given us. [Tweet that]
No tasks. And no checklists required.
But how do we move from our holy position, to practical holy living?
What is the secret to living out our already-holy lives?
Give thanks in ALL circumstances. For this is God’s will for you, [who are] in Christ Jesus. 1 Thessalonians 5:18 (NIV)
Gratitude. It all begins with gratitude. Because this is His will for us.
Our motivation for holy living in practice, should not be to earn anything, or perform to gain God’s approval.
There is no earning God’s love, only a need to rest in it. [Tweet that]
No. Our motivation to holy living should be our profound, rich, exquisite, and overwhelming gratitude, which drives our practical holy living.
We love, because even when we were dead in our sin, He loved us.
We have joy, because of His gifts.
We enjoy peace, because He has settled the account, and we are not guilty anymore.
We are patient, because He shows patience and grace toward us, again and again.
We are kind, good, and gentle because of His kindness, goodness, and gentleness toward us.
We are faithful, because in His mercy, He is faithful.
And we practice self-control, not because we will lose His love, or our position in Him if we don’t, but because our daily life will have more joy and more fulfillment, when we walk in the way He directs, and give thanks for all He gives.
Understanding how we are positionally holy, frees us to live practically holy, by offering our practical thankfulness to God. [Tweet that]
So will you join me?
No more doing or striving or fretting we’re enough? Because He’s already said we are.
So let’s turn our to-do lists into gratitude lists, and let thankfulness be our motivation to live out our holiness in the practical ways.
Because by position, we already are.
How has gratitude changed you?
Have you struggled with trying to check off a list, in order to be holy?
Continuing on in the counting of 1,000 gifts and beyond with Ann, and her beautiful community.
And why not take the #Joy Dare and join us in counting gifts wherever you are??
School together every day
A job I love
The way giving blood saves a life
A new baby welcomed by our friends
Warm sun on our faces
Lotion and cremes
Shopping all day
Girls’ laughter through the window
Hummingbird perched on the branch
Podcasts and learning
John 1 and flying
Hearing friend’s voices I desperately love
Romans 12 again & again
1 Cor 13 memory work with the kids, and the fact that love really never fails