Holiness is not easily attained. It takes time because it’s a process that God, like the silversmith in Proverbs 25:4, puts you through. He sees all the little secrets, memories, painful and happy moments of our lives and uses them all to make us more like Him.
He doesn’t simply teach us lessons throughout our life, which is a familiar refrain among unbelievers, He removes impurities like dross from silver until he sees His own reflection in the silver.
This process can be painful. It not only reveals weaknesses, flaws, past mistakes, and current sins, it brings them to the top. He uses all of it as a reminder that He alone is holy. There will always be something in our lives that needs removed.
That’s why the pursuit of holiness takes devotion. You must be committed to Him and trust His ways more than you trust your own. To say you must focus on holiness is to say you must focus on Him, because again, He alone is holy.
We cannot approach His holiness without getting burned because we are impure, but in the same way the coal touched Isaiah’s lips and made him clean, Jesus touches us and makes us clean.
Hebrews 10:10 says, “…we have been sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all.”
We used to be struck dead when we encountered the holiness of God, but here’s the good news: because of the great, painful, torturous, heaping-on-of-sin sacrifice Jesus Christ made, we are now made holy.
Sanctify means to declare holy. So we have been declared holy by God, and what other declaration matters?
This is an instantaneous process, both for us, and for Him. He communicated that declaration through Jesus and in that moment, we were made holy.
So why do we continue to sin? Why do we continue seeking fulfillment in something other than God? Part of the reason is because we struggle to grasp that God, the holiest of all beings, has adopted us as His own. We don’t accept that He has made us His children, so we continue to strive and work and try to prove that we’re good enough for God.
The only thing we bring to the table of salvation is our sin. He’s done the work. There’s nothing left for us to do and when we continue to work for our salvation, we become exhausted and insult Christ.
His gift of salvation is free (Ephesians 2:8-10) and when we receive it, our response is to act out as the sons and daughters we are.
God is most pleased when we serve others and pursue holiness out of a response to the great, powerful, fulfilling, and complete love that’s been shown to us. When we pursue holiness as a checklist, we’re not pursuing holiness. And when we’re not pursuing holiness, we need to do an about-face and turn to Him who is gentle, kind, loving, and cares for our souls more and better than anything or anyone can.
To pursue holiness is to pursue God and to pursue God is to pursue holiness. If you are pursuing good things, continue. I know it’s a wonderful place to be. I also know it’s a horrible place to be when not pursuing holiness.
I urge you, no matter where you are with Christ, to pursue Him and to pursue holiness.