We live in a world, and in a culture, where we pay lipservice to God; where we embrace Him in every way except in the ways that mean the most to Him. We live in a time where there are many spiritual people, and where spirituality runs rampant, but let me ask you something. Does God still care about Holiness? Does He expect His children to be holy? Does He expect His children to be obedient? There are some hard truths that a lot of people in this world don’t want to see, and that goes for me too. We’re willing to accept some truth, the parts of it that don’t bother us too much, but when we come across those parts that get in the way, that put walls between us and what we want to do then we go about the business of tearing them down and making them more palatable.
We live with a lot of false ideas in this world. We believe in God, but don’t believe the Bible is His infallible, inerrant word, and the only truth we should live our lives by. We believe we can love Jesus, and hate the church. We belive that God is all about love, but doesn’t care about Justice, Mercy, Compassion, and Holiness. We believe that God loves us and it’s okay to live any way we want. We believe we can really know God without spending any time in prayer or in reading His word. The list goes on and on.
So what do you really believe. Just as an experiment take a sheet of paper and write down the top 5 things you truly believe to be true, then take the rest of your day and try to notice the way you go about living today, your words and actions, and at the end of your evening reflect back upon your day. How did it go?
” Submit yourselves therefore to God.” James 4:7
Submission to the Divine will is a great advance in holiness; and this is mainly and effectually attained through sanctified chastisement. In prosperity, how full are we of self-sufficiency! When the Lord asks our obedience, we give Him our counsel. But when He sends the rod, and by the accompanying grace of His Spirit sanctifies its stroke, we learn in what true obedience consists. It was in this school our blessed Lord Himself was taught. “Though He were a Son, yet learned He obedience by the things which He suffered.” He learned to obey in suffering- to bring His will in suffering into complete submission to His Father’s will. God has not in His family such obedient children as those who, “passing under the rod,” are “brought into the bond of the covenant.” Oh, what a high Christian attainment is submission to the will of God! The noblest grace attainable upon earth is it.
When our Lord taught His disciples to pray to the Father for the spread of holiness, He embodied the petition, in these words, “Your will be done on earth, as it is in heaven.” The universal and complete holiness of heaven springs from the universal and complete perfection in which the will of God is done by angels and glorified spirits. In proportion as the Divine will prevails upon earth, holiness will reign. And, oh, what a beauteous earth and what a blissful world would this be, were the will of God done by every creature! In the new earth, in which will dwell righteousness, it will be so. The original harmony of this fallen universe will then be restored, its pristine beauty recovered, and God, in the person of His Son, will once more reign over, and walk in the midst of, a people whose will shall be but the reflection of His own. Thus to approximate to the Divine will is to assimilate with the Divine holiness. What God will, how God will, and when God will, defines the rule which should govern all the conduct and limit all the desires of the child of God. The instant the overwhelmed heart is brought into this state, the afflicted believer has planted his feet upon the Rock that is higher than he. All is peace, all is composure, because all is submission to the will of God. “The Lord reigns” is the truth whose all-commanding yet gentle whisper has stilled the tempest and calmed the waves. In its intense anxiety that the Divine will might be done, the chastened soul is but breathing after deeper holiness; and every fervent desire for the attainment of holiness is holiness already attained. Blessed chastening of love, that produces in this world, so distant and uncongenial, the buds and blossoms and fruits of heaven! A richer fruit grows not within the Paradise of God than Holiness. And yet, in the experience of a chastened believer, bleeding under the rod of his heavenly Father, there may be obtained such victories over sin, such purification of heart, such meekness of spirit, such Christ-like conformity, and such a discipline of the will, as to make him a rich “partaker of the Divine holiness.”