Embracing the Path of Holiness
by Lisa Hall, international prayer coordinator
Part 1 in a series of How to Stand Firm in Christ in Difficult Circumstances
Have you ever contemplated what it means to be holy? We know that God is holy, but what does it mean for us as humans? And how is holiness linked to the path of sanctification that God has for each of us?
Hebrews 12:10 says, “God disciplines us for our good, in order that we may share in his holiness.” It also talks about accepting hardship in our lives as discipline. God does use discipline in our lives to show us our sin and the things that need to be removed. But what about the other part of holiness that has to do with the qualities that need to be built into us?
The passage continues, “No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it” (Heb. 12:11).
God disciplines us for our good and uses circumstances and relationships to build his characteristics in us. He knows that we can’t learn and embrace these all at one time. We learn these characteristics bit by bit over time through many types of relationships and circumstances. What would happen if we asked God to help us embrace what he wants to build into our character?
This path of sanctification is not an easy road. Aren’t you glad that God has promised that he will not leave us or forsake us? He is there to walk with us through the incremental steps of change needed. And God has also given us the body of Christ. When we are doing life together in authentic community, we can pray for one another, helping each other to stand when those waves of difficult circumstances come. Friends can remind us of the truth, helping us to see that these circumstances have the ability to mature us and build into us the righteous character that we need.
I’m currently walking through such a time myself. God has gently but persistently been convicting me of pride. I know that this stubborn trait will not go away easily, and I’ve enlisted the help of a trusted friend. She is helping me take off pride, renew my mind through memorizing Scripture on humility and walk through the many difficult trials in which God is testing my sincerity in wanting to rid myself of this sin. I’m clinging to God’s constant presence through this painful time.
The beauty that comes out of these difficult circumstances, though, is not only the character of God in us, and the ability to stand firm, but also God’s peace. Again, Verse 11 says, “Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it.” God works in our lives over time to build in us the qualities we need: the purity, truth, faith, readiness, hope, constant prayer and attentiveness to the Holy Spirit’s guidance. And the culmination of gaining these qualities is the ability to stand in peace.
What would it look like for you to seek God for the change he wants in your life? What friend could you trust to walk alongside you in this? It is time to get strong and learn to stand. It is time to pursue holiness so we can stand no matter what circumstances come against us and so we may learn to walk in the strength and peace of God as we do.