04 October 2010

The Pursuit

Ah, this fall weather! How beautiful. I have been able to spend an exorbitant amount of time outdoors recently and have enjoyed every moment. I am surprised at what God has been teaching me through it. Though Creation testifies the goodness and glory of God, I seldom take time to listen and recognize it speaking to me. Lately however, I have been making an effort to do exactly that. Listen. Feel. Recognize.

Our backyard is pretty magical right now. There are so many trees and they are full of leaves and happy branches. Sitting outside on the deck as I write this, I can hear the branches swaying peacefully in the breeze. Peace. What an amazing example of trusting the Lord. The trees don't try to stand up against the wind. They don't resist its pushing and pulling. Each tree is made to withstand the everyday movement of the wind. How much more should we be trusting that we have been made to withstand the every day push and pull of this world? We have been equipped with the Word and its bounty of tools. If I could be like a tree and not waver my grounded roots which have been planted solidly in the Word of God, I would be able to face each push and pull with greater ease and peace.

I've been reading today about "The Pursuit of Holiness". Written by Jerry Bridges, this book is taking me deeper into what it means to be holy and how I can strive each day to become more and more so. Today specifically I have read about meditating on the Word so that it can be used as a weapon against temptation for sin. Any sin - complaining, jealousy, sexual immorality, and even stress! Bridges write about being disciplined in the Word. Using the example of a baseball player who has been habituated into an incorrect stance and grip of the bat, Bridges illustrates our need to consciously make an effort to change our bad habits. A disciplined intake of the Word involves planned time. A balanced intake of the Word requires hearing the Word taught by our pastors and teachers, reading the Word ourselves, studying the Scriptures intently, and memorizing key passages.

Bridges beautifully explains meditating using the following steps:
1. What does this passage teach concerning God's will for a holy life?
2. How does my life measure up to that Scripture; specifically where and how do I fall short?
3. What definite steps of action do I need to take to obey?

What simplicity this can be?! Too often we get overwhelmed with the great wealth that is the Bible and we miss the perfect instruction contained within. I am planning to put this method into practice on a daily basis.

Never before have I felt so encouraged in my walk with the Lord. I have felt so much freedom in reading this book. Knowing that Holiness is something very important to God and it doesn't just involve abstinence from sex or pornography. Holiness is a daily walk with God. It is through this holiness that we gain true intimacy with our First Love; without it no one will see the Lord (Hebrews 12:14)That's deep. But I'm glad I know that now. I have been more inclined to take mundane choices with greater seriousness and caution knowing that every word and thought play into a holy life before the Lord. But I can do it! I can be holy. By the grace of God and the sacrifice of Jesus I can be holy just as He is holy.

One way I have been putting what I've learned into practice is through the use of index cards. I write scriptures on them and put them on my wall as a reminder of what the Bible says about my holy walk with Jesus. Memorizing these Scriptures and meditating on what they mean in my life are perfect ways of proliferating a vast cash of weapons to use against temptation! When I recognize sinful thoughts or desires, I know I can consult with my Helper, the HOLY Spirit, and decide, based upon the Scripture stored within, what the correct way forward is. HOLY SPIRIT!!! Yes, this has been one of my favorite revelations in my Pursuit. Jesus sent His Spirit to dwell within us and work holiness in us. Though is is our responsibility to walk out the holiness we seek, we have already been equipped with the very Spirit of HOLINESS. The HOLY Spirit is within me to help me become HOLY!! Who thinks of it that way?!? I didn't until this book changed my understanding.

Bridges was given a formula for "How to Know Right from Wrong" and it looks like this:
* Question 1: Is it helpful - physically, spiritually, and mentally?
* Question 2: Does it bring me under its power; does it control me?
* Question 3: Does it hurt others?
* Question 4: Does it glorify God?

I can think of so many instances where had I taken the time to ask myself even one of the above questions regarding a certain action or thought, I would have chosen a much holier option. I'm not saying this is easy. I know it is a daily discipline. I understand physical discipline.Having a boyfriend who takes "My body is a temple" very seriously, I understand the daily battle involved in making good, healthy choices. I have become more focused on eating healthier and in disciplining my schedule enough to make time for regular exercise. To the right is the Workout Program I am mostly doing (I say mostly because I don't actually workout every day like that suggests). Seeing the effort I put into making my body a good temple, I understand the work it will take to make my Spirit, Heart and Soul a holy temple. But, I can do it! And so can YOU!

I sincerely hope this has encouraged you and has helped you take a closer look at your walk in holiness. It is such a good feeling to know what God wants from me and that I can give it to Him! Wow. Oh Happy Day!!!