Sometimes I feel handcuffed by the things God expects of me. One wrist is held securely by the responsibilities that make up my To Do List. The other one is immobilized by the character and attitude standards that He sets for me.
Leviticus 11:44, 19:2, 20:7; 1 Peter 1:16; and 2 Peter 3:11 are a few of the verses that clarify God's expectations. Though the wording varies a bit each passage explains that God calls His people to be holy because God is holy.
That means that God's chosen ones must reflect His holy personhood and character; be perfect in every aspect; in our being and our doing.
When I stop and think about that goal and my ability to reach it I find myself stalled, disoriented, and discouraged.
It's sort of the way I feel on any given Monday . . . only 1,000,000 times worse.
There's this whole week stretching out in front of me. It's got numerous tasks, activities, responsibilities, and events in it that I'm not sure I can finish, do, meet, and attend.
And that doesn't even include all the interruptions, surprises, and rescheduling that normally take place.
What's a person to do when they run up against what appear to be impossible expectations?
The answer for the believer, the disciple of Christ, is always the same.
We need to turn to God, run to Him, share with Him, look to Him.
When it comes to holiness, He's got the answer.
"Then the LORD said to Moses, 'Say to the Israelites, 'You must observe my Sabbaths. This will be a sign between me and you for the generations to come, so you may know that I am the LORD, who makes you holy." Exodus 31:12-13 NIV, 1984
How can that be?
Paul shares the core of this truth.
"To the church of God in Corinth, to those sanctified in Christ Jesus and called to be holy. together with all those everywhere who call on the name of our Lord Jesus Christ - their Lord and ours: Grace and peace to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ." 1 Corinthians 1:2-3
Those of us who are called to be holy are "sanctified". To sanctify means "set apart". In this instance we are set apart from sin and unto God. The root word in both Hebrew and Greek is also translated "holy". So to sanctify means "to make holy".
God's Word tells us that being sanctified, made holy, happens when we are "in Christ Jesus". When I am "in Christ Jesus" God declares and sees me as holy. That's my position before Him.
Paul's explanation comes in sort of two steps. My position is holy because I am justified in Christ. However, I need to live a holy life.
"But just as he who called you is holy, so be holy in all you do" 1 Peter 1:15
God's people are meant to be growing in the ways we reflect His holiness. It's one thing to be sitting in the middle of a lifeboat. We need to be rowing toward the heavenly shore. That is the sanctification journey.
And God even takes care of my progress in that regard too.
"for it is God who works in you to will and to act according to his good purpose." Philippians 2:13
Phew, neither my position nor my progress is not up to me and my weak human energy and methods.
God provides the holiness He requires.
Hallelujah! The To Do List just evaporated.