Saturday, June 9, 2012

Beautiful Poison

God’s been doing His work in me, and I have learned something from Him in the process, painful as it is. He has shared this with me: I am never holy. Only He is holy. Sin is always within my grasp, within my reach, in my heart, in my thoughts, in my DNA. Just when I think that I am knowing Him, growing closer to Him, gaining ground in terms of spirituality or holiness, He shows me that there it is, sin, like a weed, growing in this beautiful garden that He calls me. Did you know the Easter lily is a poisonous plant? We associate it with new birth, with redemption, with holiness. And yet. And yet. Our God tells us, “Be holy, for I am holy,” in 1 Peter 1:13-16. He goes on, “Therefore, prepare your minds for action; be self-controlled; set your hope fully on the grace to be given you when Jesus Christ is revealed. As obedient children, do not conform to the evil desires you had when you lived in ignorance. But just as he who called you is holy, so be holy in all you do; for it is written, Be holy, because I am holy.” I’m just wondering. Is that possible for me? It seems I try and try, but I don’t meet the Maker’s mark. I know that I want to live a life of holiness, in order to understand and fit into the plan God has for my life. But the older I get, the more I discover how strenuous that is. Life, it seems, is an obstacle course. It requires spiritual, mental, and physical effort. I must work to prepare, to arm myself, for the duties and trials and conflicts of this life. He requires me to be sober, reflective, watchful, and active. I must ask for His protection against my pride, my self-will, my arrogance, my self-loathing…in other words, whatever weakens me in faithfulness. It’s a small path, and a narrow gate, that leads me to Him. He gives me hope, hope for holiness. I know that I am saved by grace through faith. But as I go, as I go through each day, I need the anchor of His word to stay the course. I'm writing a book. I don't think it's self-indulgent. I think the book has an important message. And, it's a dream come true for me. It's going well. I don't quite understand what comes next, but I am hopeful. But writing this book with Shilo has forced me to consider my selfless devotion, as well as my selfish desires. I want, more than anything else, to make sure that the reading of this text leads someone, anyone, to decide to be transformed by the renewing of his/her mind, as that is surely what Shilo’s story is all about. No matter what the world says, his story cannot be told separate or apart from the grace of God. So I’m just praying that sin doesn’t enter in too boldly or too sneaky either; that we each ask every day to be transformed so that what we say, what we write, is holy and pleasing to God. That it doesn’t turn out to be beautiful but poisonous. That it leads to new life, rebirth, holiness before God. Let this work be a living sacrifice, through us, holy and pleasing to God. Let it be an act of spiritual worship. Because long after the pages disappear, and long after we leave this earth, if we have pointed no one, no person, no family, no seeker or sinner to our God, then really, why did we bother?

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