I enjoy reading! Fiction and nonfiction alike. At our church, the staff wives participate in a book club. They read the selected book(s) independently and then discuss them as a group. Even though I am not part of our church’s staff, I am friends with many who are and I get excited when they send me their recommendations.
That is how I came to learn about Jen Wilkin and her book – In His Image. In this book, Wilkin talks about God’s communicable traits – the attributes that we, as Christ followers, can also possess. In His Image has been incredibly impactful in my life and it is our desire that, as we take a deeper look at each attribute together in this new series, you will also be encouraged… and perhaps even a bit challenged.
I grew up singing hymns in a small-town community church. Many of the popular hymns talk about God’s holiness. Reginald Herber wrote Holy, Holy, Holy in 1826 and churches all over the world are still singing it today. But what is holiness and how are we able to achieve it?
Positionally, we are holy because of what Jesus accomplished on the cross. Practically, we strive towards holiness, with help from the Holy Spirit, by endeavoring to possess a character of purity. To live a life that’s set apart from the world. To pursue moral excellence.
“Pray that our family models Christian Character: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control, hospitality, generosity, humility, respect, forgiveness, honesty, courage, gratitude, purity, compassion, and more.”
Yikes! That’s a long (and overwhelming!) list. Will we fail miserably at times? Of course! To pursue holiness is a lifelong process.
In Leviticus 19:2 God is speaking to Moses and says that we are to be holy as He is holy. In order to be holy as He is holy – we must strive to think and speak and act more like Christ every moment of every day. We should be a better reflection of Jesus today than we were yesterday.
But if we seek to be holy without love – we add nothing, we are nothing, we gain nothing. (1 Corinthians 13:1-3) Last month we talked about the four different types of love in detail; Philia, Storge, Eros, and Agape.
Agape, the love of God, goes hand-in-hand with holiness. We find freedom in our pursuit of holiness when we love God and love as God loves… no matter the cost! Love cost God the death of His Son. Love cost Jesus separation from His father. To love might cost us our pride and conveniences and preferences and independence and relationships and so much more – but It is this love that sets us apart. To love (agape) is a requirement of holiness.
This week, we challenge you to be a better reflection of Christ by asking God for opportunities to grow in holiness and to demonstrate His (agape) love. Will you try with us?
Abundantly More – Knowing God and Making God Known.
So you must live as God’s obedient children. Don’t slip back into your old ways of living to satisfy your own desires. You didn’t know any better then. But now you must be holy in everything you do, just as God who chose you is holy. For the Scriptures say, “You must be holy because I am holy.” – 1 Peter 1:14-16 NLT
If I could speak all the languages of earth and of angels, but didn’t love others, I would only be a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. If I had the gift of prophecy, and if I understood all of God’s secret plans and possessed all knowledge, and if I had such faith that I could move mountains, but didn’t love others, I would be nothing. If I gave everything I have to the poor and even sacrificed my body, I could boast about it; but if I didn’t love others, I would have gained nothing. – 1 Corinthians 13:1-3
This series is inspired by Jen Wilkin. For a more detailed look at holiness and love, read chapters 1 and 2 from In His Image