devo//be HOLY [1 john 2:1-6]

My dear children, I am writing this to you so that you will not sin. But if anyone does sin, we have an advocate who pleads our case before the Father. He is Jesus Christ, the one who is truly righteous.He himself is the sacrifice that atones for our sins—and not only our sins but the sins of all the world. And we can be sure that we know him if we obey his commandments. If someone claims, “I know God,” but doesn’t obey God’s commandments, that person is a liar and is not living in the truth. But those who obey God’s word truly show how completely they love him. That is how we know we are living in him. Those who say they live in God should live their lives as Jesus did. [1 John 2:1-6, NLT]
One of the most shocking revelations of my spiritual walk (we will talk more about my most shocking revelation in a later devotional) was that God actually calls us to live a holy life.

What do you think when you hear that word? Holy... What do you think when I remind you that this is the standard He has set for us, this is His calling. Holiness is the standard. That's what He wants from us.  That's what He sent His son so that we could have. Holiness.

There was a [long] time in my early walk when I would have argued with you if you would have told me this. Incredulously, I would have reminded you that we all sin. No one of us is perfect, none of us holy... After all, isn't that just what we talked about yesterday? How we all sin? How we all need Jesus?  We studied the Word that says "If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us" [1 John 1:8].

But then I got into the Word for myself:

Be holy, because I am holy. 1 Peter 2:16
I am the Lord your God; consecrate yourselves and be holy, because I am holy. Leviticus 11:44
Speak to the entire assembly of Israel and say to them: 'Be holy because I, the Lord your God, am holy...' Leviticus 19:2
I am writing these words so that you WILL NOT sin. 1 John 2:1

It's hard to escape those words, isn't it? The God I serve is one that doesn't mess around. If He says it, He means it. It's not a suggestion, it's a calling. It isn't a choice, it's a command.

Don't you see, that's the reason that we need Jesus so much... because on our own we can't do it. I was powerless, powerless, to walk out of sin on my own. I could not walk away from fourteen years of addiction without His help. I couldn't change the patterns of my speech without His help. I couldn't rely on the truth without His help. For goodness sakes I couldn't even see most of my sin without His help. 

In the same way, we can't walk toward holiness without His help. Without Him standing at the right hand of the Father, advocating on our behalf. Pleading our case to the Father, shining His holy light on our repentant heart... He atones for our sins. Washes us white as snow. He puts His garment on us... His holiness. Not only that, He sends His Holy Spirit to live inside us. To be a voice guiding, direction, convicting, challenging, changing. We can't do holiness on our own... but the Holy Spirit can do nothing less than holy.

What is our response to this? What is our response to a third of the God-head residing in us? What is our response to the love Jesus demonstrated on that tree? What is our response to His unending devotion to you?

Hanging on that cross, Jesus was totally, completely, entirely sold out in love for you...
How can our response be any less?

The free Miriam-Webster online dictionary has this listed as one definition of holy:
                      devoted entirely to the deity or the work of the deity

Hmmm.... But those who obey God’s word truly show how completely they love him. That is how we know we are living in him. [v5]

Jesus, the one who died for me... while I was still a sinner... still a blasphemer... still an addict... still idolatrous... 

He looked at me in that filth and said "I want HER... for HER I will stand, silent, before these accusers... for her, for BECKY, I will carry this cross... for HER I will be spit on... for her I will watch the Father's face turn from mine... for HER I WILL DEFEAT THE DARKNESS... all for HER... I want HER..."

So how in the world can I do anything less than devote my life, my love, my heart, my passion entirely to Him and to His work? How can I possibly settle into compromise and then look Jesus in His beautiful face and say "you were only worth my 50%... or my 20%... or my 10%..." How? How can we? How can we give Him any less than our everything because, friends, He gave His ALL. Just for YOU.

And if I truly give Him my all... If I would truly, really, turn to Him every day, with every breath and rely on Him to guide my steps and my words... would He ever lead me into sin?

I write this to you, my friends, so that you will not sin. Show Jesus how much you love Him by actually doing what He says. Don't say with your mouth that you know God, and then doing everything you can to deny Him with your life. If you know Him, if you love Him... you will do what He has asked of you. You will love Him with your words. You will love Him with your actions. You will love Him with your money. You will love Him with your time.

How can we do anything less?

Father, I thank you for holiness. I thank you that you are not satisfied with your children living in the status quo, but that you call us to something better... something set apart... something that glorifies you. Father I know that we are helpless to do this on our own. Obedience is so foreign to us, God... So I ask Father that your Holy Spirit would penetrate our lives. That you would shatter our preconceived notions of what our lives should look like, and that you would make us a people who accept your plans as our plans... that we would allow you to guide us into the way of righteousness. And Father, in those times that we do fail, that we do rely on ourselves instead of your son, will your Light quickly shine into that sin so that we see it? Would we have softened hearts to accept your discipline? Make us a people quick to repent!  Let us live lives with holiness as our standard, each day be molded more and more into the likeness of your beautiful son... it's in His name we pray...

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