If you noticed, all the songs we sang in our service this past Sunday were songs about holiness. The holiness of God, and our longing to be likewise holy. This is a most worthy attribute for which we ought sincerely praise our Lord, but we must take heed not to sing ignorantly or hypocritically when we express our desire for personal holiness.
When we imagine personal holiness we tend to think how wonderful it would be to be free of this or that vice, evil, propensity, destructive habit or obstacle to some as yet unattainable virtue. We neglect to realize that holiness also involves sacrificing those sins we still love.
I have a study course I may one day use in a small Bible study group or Sunday School class. The study title quite honestly asks, “Why Would Anyone Want to be Holy?” It directly considers this question and invites us to seriously “count the cost” of desiring holiness.
Please understand, I am not suggesting we aim for anything less than holiness. Years ago God set that goal for all of us: (Lev. 19:2; 20:7, 26; 21:8; Ex. 19:6; 1 Pet. 1:16; 1 Thess. 4:7). Rather, I urge you to count that cost and where you may find any area of resistance to surrender any evil, any sin, any selfishness, any pride, begin now to do the work of becoming willing to surrender it. Pray fervently that God will by His Spirit effect the “renewing of your mind” (Rom. 12:2) making it ever more “the mind of Christ” (1 Cor. 2:16; Phil. 2:5) that ridding yourself of these things becomes indeed your honest desire.
Counting and surrendering these costs, removing any and all preconceived “conditions” we may have put on our personal holiness, is indeed our work in partnership with God’s work of bringing about our actual holiness.