It's time to pull up your chair. Do you know you have one here in this space we call Soli Deo Gloria? You do. It's reserved every week only for you. This place would be different if you weren't here and we miss you when you are gone. This is a place filled with women who seek to honor your words, you heart, your tears, and your laughter. Scooch in close. You won't want to miss a word.
Also, SDG retreat registration is still open!! Click here to find out more information and learn how to register. Registration for conference closes on September 23rd.
|The Door to Nowhere, Winchester House|
I'm sitting in Sunday school and we are studying 1 Peter, the first chapter. And my priest, Fr, Mike, says, at the beginning:
"Holiness is not an achievement."
He says it plainly, in a normal tone of voice, but my spirit reacts something like this:
"What?!? HOLINESS is not something I can ACHIEVE? How can this be?" I'm all ears now, ready to listen to what it is, then? Because I know the Bible tells me "to be holy as I AM holy" and if it's not something I am supposed to strive for, I have some reevaluating to do.
"To be holy simply means to be set apart," He says. God has set Himself apart from this world by His very nature, and in turn, He has ransomed us from worldly futile ways through Jesus. And, thus, we are called to live differently -- displaying His virtuous love and shunning the sins of malice, guile, insincerity, and slander.
I've learned a lot about grace and much about the kindness of God. I'm learning that He designed me for rest and to need forgiveness. But what I have still been unable to fully comprehend is the fullness of His motivations for the commands He gives to us. Until, perhaps, today.
To hear "be holy as I AM holy" strikes fear in my heart. No, not the reverent, healthy fear of an awesome God. Rather, it's the fear that I will never measure up. That I will never be able to try hard enough. That I will always be striving, always be pushing, always having my head down and nose to the grindstone, pounding the pavement, doing the works that He has set out for me to do. Always trying to be holy. Always trying to be perfect. Always trying to achieve and unachievable goal. And, always failing, in one way or another.
Why would God tell us to do the impossible?
And it is impossible, this being perfect. And if we set holiness as something to be achieved, we get stuck in the same rat race as the world: I must work hard to meet my goals so that I can work harder to meet loftier goals. I must produce so I am deemed worthy enough to produce more.
But no. God did not set us on this course. His course, one set apart from the world, is one that sets us on the path of love. I believe that God wants us to stay away from things of this world that bring only temporary fulfillment and that we must be obedient to that call. But we aren't obedient because we think it will make us better or get us farther or bring us more blessings. We are obedient because if we fill ourselves up with junk, there will be no room for the Love that fully sustains. He calls us to be holy as HE is holy, He calls us to love as HE has loved us. And He only asks this of us because He empowers us to do it and He did it for us, first.
"You were cleansed from your sins when you obeyed the truth, so now you must show sincere love to each other as brothers and sisters. Love each other deeply with all your heart."
1 Peter 1: 22
This is not something we can do based on our own merits, for we must have His love fully ensconced in our hearts in order for us to stay on this path. It is a natural extension of our walk with Him, to be set apart, to love each other deeply, to lay our lives down for our friends. But it's only natural if we are plugged in to the Source.
I don't know about you, but I get unplugged often, usually without realizing that I've tripped the cord. I let my little judgmental self get in the way of loving people. I let my benchmarks and goals and products dictate if I'm on the right path instead the state of my heart. I've decided to climb the mountain without asking for any help. It can seem like an endless battle, but to know now that holiness is a state of being and not a destination on a road, brings me a sense of hope.
I don't have to be a certain way or do a certain project. I don't have to write this or say that or minister to __ number of people.
I just have to let Him love me.
And that will dictate everything else.
I am so happy to see your face here at Soli Deo Gloria. Did you know we have small groups? As SDG has grown, it started to lose a bit of the small community feel. As such, we have groups that visit each other and leave comments for each other on SDG days so that you don't feel lost in this big blog world. Would you like to be a part? If so, please email me at email@example.com. Also, if you are new here, please put "I am new" as your caption so that we might give you a proper welcome.