I see holiness as the great battle in Christianity these days, no longer are you made fun of for believing in God or calling yourself a Christian. You can believe whatever you want. Its when you start drawing lines in the sand, so to speak, that people start getting upset at your faith. When you say you believe other people are wrong, when you say there is a real hell and even nice people go there, when you start living your life by a different set of standards than the world. Holiness means to be set aside for a special purpose. 1 Peter 1:15-16 says “But just as he who called you is hold, so be holy in all you do; for it is written: “be holy, because I am holy”". We are to be set apart, but so many Christians refuse to make the hard choices necessary in order to truly walk with God. Think about the young rich man, whom Jesus told to sell all of his possessions and give the money to the poor (Matt. 19:16-22). Jesus laid a hard line down before him, and the man didn’t want to cross it – so Jesus told him he couldn’t be His follower. And then there was the man who was going to follow Jesus, but asked to bury his father first (Luke 9:57-62). Jesus said no, you must be willing to leave everything behind. Otherwise you are not worthy of following him.
As Christians in America today, we don’t like hard lines, and hard truths. We don’t like being told a list of do’s and don’ts . And let me be clear, Christianity is about a right relationship with God – about being forgiven because of what Jesus did for you, not because you did anything to deserve it. But at the same time, once you start following Jesus he lays out pretty clearly in the New Testament the standards He wants you to follow. And he doesn’t mince words. “If you love me, you will obey what I command.” and ”Why do you call me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ and do not do what I say?” (Luke 6:46).
I think this generation struggles to understand the weight that their actions carry, and how important it is to live a life, in thought and actions, that strive to be closer to God no matter the cost or sacrifice. That when your actions/thoughts do not line up with what the Bible says, it DOES matter.
‘I know God says to only have sex with your spouse, but I really love so-and-so and want to be closer to them. Sex is an expression of love, and God doesn’t look down on love, right?’
‘I know God says not to get drunk, but its just a little harmless fun now and then’
‘I know He says to give to the poor, and help the needy, but …’
We have excuses for everything. God never said following Him was easy, or without cost. He said the exact opposite ‘Whoever wants to follow me must pick up his cross everyday‘.
‘The fast and the easy’ – In a day and age where everything is faster, easier, more entertainment and ‘me’ driven – people don’t want to hear they can’t have what they want, how they want it, when they want it. After all, it’s ‘their’ life, right? And they should be able to live it the best way the see fit….
The thing is, when we become Christians, we are commanded to die to ourselves, and to live for Christ. Meaning, it’s really ‘His’ life. More and more I am seeing a disconnect between what people say they believe, and what they actually do. That’s why there isn’t so much a struggle to say you believe in God…but to live like you believe in Him? That’s a different story.