I'm sorry. I'm a terrible blogger! I just read that good bloggers blog every day. And, with under 250 words...Oh, well. I am a gratefully busy mother of four. And, wife to one. Plus, my laptop has been uncooperative. With that said, it feels great to write again. I have four half started blogs that I hope to get out soon. Hopefully I will stick with this. But, alas, I will do good to get one out a week. (More like two a month.) But, I am going to try!
"How little people know that think that holiness is dull. When one meets the real thing...it is irresistible." -C.S. Lewis
Years ago, I remember reading the verse, "...The effectual and fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much." (James 5:16) I paused on the word "righteous". Having been in church my entire life, I knew the word. Or, so I thought. I looked it up.
Righteous-1.(of a person or conduct) Morally right or justifiable; virtuous.
2.Perfectly wonderful; fine and genuine.
Right with God....
"Well, that counts me out.", I thought to myself. Me? Right with God. Pfft!
While in rehab at Brookhaven, one of my friends came back from church one Sunday. She was so excited about the message and the music. She was a believer who also struggled with addiction. At this point I was not attending church. (BH is not a Christian treatment center. But, they would take a van to different churches each week. If you had enough to sign up. Methodist one week. Baptist the next and so on...For much of my 4 month stay, I chose not to go.) I listened as she talked about holiness. About how she hoped that she could live what she had heard once she got home. I remember feeling a mix of envy and disdain. Again, "holiness" is a word that I've heard my whole life, but did not fully understand.
1. the quality or state of being holy; sanctity.
2. blessedness, godliness, saintliness.
Well, obviously I had always dismissed it as unobtainable for my sin-soaked self. Too much work. Too serious. Boring for someone as spunky as me...
It recently occurred to me that my view of God, all of those years, was so skewed. I'm not really sure why. I heard words like righteous and holy and automatically saw...legalism, difficult, stuck up, without fun, torturous...
Yes, of course, I had heard the word grace, too. But, the blanket of shame that I wore made grace seem out of my reach. I believed the lie that grace was only for certain people. Those with "little" or few sins...Not for me.
But, as you know, I took off that blanket. I prayed for a renewed mind. A clean heart. I began to strive for righteousness. Learning that while I can never truly be completely sinless, here on earth, I can be right with God by laying my stuff down daily. Acknowledging my weaknesses and hungering to be more like Him. I learned that holiness is actually beautiful. And, surprisingly cool! That having a mindset that craves to show Christ in all that I do is simply...freeing.
No more drama. Goodbye lying. Death to deceit. Move over manipulation. Saying "no" to chemical cures. Letting Christ clean me up. Clutching my new found clarity. Taking my victories over my sins and using them to help others.
Last night I tasted holiness. And, it was good. I have a new friend that has struggled with addiction. I took her to Celebrate Recovery. I had not been in a while. While, thinking that I was there just for her, God showed me several things. One of which was that because I was willing to expose my inner demons, in this forum and otherwise, I have allowed myself to be used for his glory. Holiness. By listening to the speaker's testimony and praying for him to be steadfast, before I went to sleep... Holiness. By confessing in our "Addiction" Small Group that I was convicted of struggling with anger after hearing his testimony...Holiness. That by admitting that I am nothing without Christ. Holiness. .............
I have had to let go of all of those ill-perceived notions of God. My misunderstandings. And, I now see that striving for holiness...or, righteousness, does not mean that I have it all together. Or, that I'm "all that". (Trust me. I know that I'm not!) I have redefined those words in my heart and mind. Believing God's truth in them.
My new friend and I laughed as we drove home late last night. (Her journey is just beginning. Yet, with me by her side she will learn to find humor in the hard things. It's just who I am.) There is actually laughter in holiness. It's true. And, it is healing. As I drove away my thoughts were this...that by helping her... and others...it helps me. It helps me stay strong. Focused. Humble. Continually teachable. Accountable. It's what I've been doing. According to some....without even knowing it. Knowing full well, that I am nothing apart from Him. That what He did on the cross...set me free. Holiness.
I received a call from a friend this morning.She is seeking helps for a friend that is struggling with the same things that have tormented me. Addiction and anxiety. She wanted information on my blog. We had a wonderful chat. And, then we prayed. Each for the other. Holiness. Beautiful, fresh, obedient holiness.
C.S. Lewis is right. It is irresistible when you understand the true nature of holiness. Pursuing holiness does not mean that you have to be perfect. No. It means just that. To pursue it. To strive for it. Setting out each, new mercy filled day to try and be like Him. And, when you stumble...or fail...which you will (if you are honest with yourself!)...you pick yourself back up and press on. Sometimes you will need some help. Ask for it. Please. Do not be like I was and sit alone thinking that it magically get better. Or that it's not worth it.......................It is.
This song does not really pertain to what I've shared today. But, it has been playing on my dock while I've been writing. I keep pushing the replay. Maybe someone needs to hear it.
Be blessed. Be encouraged. Strive. Pursue.
Don't give up.