Holy God, Holy Joy, Holy Love, Holy Living

An incredible joy stirs in my heart. God is exceedingly good and His glory is great. I stand amazed at the richness in mysteries God has found pleasure in making known to my once-dumb mind.

Joy to me is no longer simple pleasure and happiness in earthly things in and of themselves. It is now the full surrender to and pursuit of God’s pleasure and His will. It is that which brings to me far greater pleasure and happiness than I could have ever hoped to obtain by my own efforts. It is shalom peace which far surpasses any “rational” man’s understanding.

Love to me is no longer simply a word which means warm fuzzy feelings and good emotions. It is pleasure in the pursuit of true joy (found in God) for another, even at — and some might say especially at — great cost to my time and treasure. Love motivates service without an expectation of praise or material goods in return. But that doesn’t seem to encompass all that love is. To me, love does seek a result for its actions, but that which it seeks is itself! That is to say that love seeks to create love where there is no love and increase love where there is already love. When I love, I do it because I love to love. Love finds pleasure in translating itself into action.

What motivated Paul to write to the Thessalonian brothers, “Now may our God and Father Himself and Jesus our Lord direct our way to you; and may the Lord cause you to increase and abound in love for one another, and for all people, just as we also do for you; so that He may establish your hearts without blame in holiness before our God and Father at the coming of our Lord Jesus with all His saints.” (1 Thes 3:11-13, emphasis mine)?

My friends, I posit to you that Paul was motivated by his love for them to pray this. He loved the Thessalonian brothers so much that he desired for their love “increase and abound” for one another and indeed for all people.

God has increased my love for my brothers and sisters as well as those who are not yet in Christ. My desire to love is exceedingly great, and this is all because of God’s work to bring my human heart and mind to reconciliation with His divine, perfect and holy nature. I desire that they may find pleasure in loving inasmuch as God has seen it good to reveal this great pleasure to me and demonstrate His own love by lavishing it upon me. God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. See how great a love the Father has bestowed on us, that we would be called children of God; and such we are.

God has adopted me as a son, even as a fellow heir of Christ! How can I possibly honor Him for who He has time and again demonstrated Himself to be? Or as a song I heard today put it, what can a poor man bring to lay at the feet of a King? I can bring nothing to God but my sin and my brokenness.

God is owed everything because everything is His. He deserves all that I am and all that I have because He is worthy. I was bought with a price; my life is not my own. And this is why my life ought now to be a living sacrifice, given to Him that I might decrease and that He might increase.

Holiness is a product of an intimate relationship with a holy God. God’s intimacy causes me to pursue holiness because I cannot help but respond to Him in this manner. He meets me here and now; I choose to submit and allow Him to take me from where and who I am now and cause me to be where and who He wants me to be.

I’m finding this concept of holiness encompasses all that I touch, see, feel, think, say, do: every aspect of life. Some people (even brothers and sisters in Christ) might say I’m “overspiritualizing” or making a big deal out of nothing when I take a chance to examine how I approach music for worship; or when I examine the extent to which I ought to forgive people and pursue reconciliation; or examine what it really means to love someone; or examine why I feel something negative toward someone which causes me to avoid them and if I even should feel that way; or to examine how much time I spend pursuing leisure activities and how much I spend renewing my mind. Some people might say I’m making a big deal out of nothing, but I think these things are important to God because of the very fact that they are a part of our lives and our pursuits. God cares about how much I pray. God also cares about how much I eat and if I’m taking care of my body. I have neglected my body and am overweight and out of shape. If I desire holiness, it means that I need stop drinking so much soda or perhaps cut it entirely out of my diet. It means I need to eat less, and eat less fried foods. It means I need to exercise more. And all of these actions are not holy in and of themselves; a desire for holiness coupled with an action that is profitable to that end is what marks a given action as a pursuit of holiness.

So I must ask what my motivation is in my choices, no matter the significance. Some choices might be relatively trivial and fairly flexible like when, where, and how I get my hair cut. Other choices are pretty black and white, like whether or not I harbor hatred or bitterness in my heart toward someone.

So that’s what’s going on for the past 2 weeks for those who are curious. I might update, but I’m a bit rushed to finish this since there’s stuff going on tonight.


3 Responses to Holy God, Holy Joy, Holy Love, Holy Living

  1. kristi72 says:

    Bill this is intriguing me. I have just been thinking about these exact issues for the last 3 or 4 days. When I tell people I want to lose weight then they say your weight is just fine, but it certainly not for my height…I don’t know what happened along the way. it used to be even if I gained weight over the winter then I would ride my bike from my home-w.130 every night from spring-fall, and lose it all. having my bike for the last two years though(due to bad brakes)has certainly made me lazy, and now even though I have begun again now that it’s fixed Ihave thus far only been able to work myself up to going to Stumph Rd. The reason, I can not breath but I have come to realize I can’t breath well because I need to lose weight. I had two ideas last night. I need to want to do it, not because I care about how anyone thinks I look, but that my body’s God’s temple, and that if I don’t feel good, then I can’t think as clearly, and I am not being used by Him the best that I can be. I was actually thinking last nigaht that I was just going to order a salad tomorrow night(-; I’m also thinking that it’s very shameful that I have this awesome walking/hiking trail(Metroparks)literally right around the corner, and I never even use it. MAYBE this is something we can think about doing together sometime(s) if you would like that. I know it is much better trying to work through it together with someone than alone, and you also get the added bonus of conversation(-;

    I guess that it was NOT a good thing to tell you to just eat those potatoes lol

    Well I definitely experienced the thought of ‘try new foods’ today. We were at the bug fest, and they had bug cooking. The little one went up to get a bug cookie, and as soon as she saw the meal worms on top her eyes just turned into these big saucers, and was just like ‘eew, gross!’ I didn’t have a cookie, but I did try a dry roasted meal worm with cinnamon on it. No, it didn’t taste like chicken. It tasted more like caramel corn, and was really crunchy. How’s that for a low fat diet? Guess I should have gotten the recipe. Well John the Baptist did eat locust and honey after all didn’t he? So meal worms and cinnamon aren’t so bad l-:

  2. Bill says:

    I’m not entirely sure how your comment relates to my post, but feel free to clarify if you feel I have misjudged.

    Please don’t take offense to this, but I do prefer that comments made here be fairly germane to the topics covered in their respective posts so that there can be meaningful discourse with minimal distraction. A comment of “Hi, just wanted to let you know I found your blog and started reading.” is certainly not out of the question (and is in fact welcomed), but as a general principle, it ought to be the exception and not the rule.

    If you or others desire to discuss matters outside the scope of what is contained in the posts, all may feel free to use my MySpace, email, or speak to me privately in person. I’m certainly not opposed to sharing in things such as what you shared, but I don’t believe this blog is the appropriate context. I hope that you understand what I mean by this and what it is that I am asking.

  3. kristi72 says:

    okay. well you said you felt you needed to lose weight, and I was comment on how I have felt led to do the same thing. I was also explaining that I want to do it not because I fear what anyone thinks about my looks, but that I’m more concerned with the fact that my body’s God’s temple, and there is no way that God’s going to be able to use me to the best of my ability if I am not well physically. An overweight body leads to not only the inability to breathe properly, but also to not think clearly, because it’s hard to think if/when you’re fighting with all your strength just to breathe. It makes you tired, and you often don’t get much sleep, so therefore have a very difficult time ever becoming ‘renewed’ because your mind is always to tired to be roused. Just like alcohol, cigarettes, and drugs deplete your body so does being overweight. That is all I was trying to say, but I shouldn’t have said it in so many words. I KNOW, and UNDERSTAND I ramble on too much. It would probably be different if I had someone that I could talk to about everything, and anything, but I don’t have that and I tend to go overboard and talk to everyone like they’re my ‘best friend.’ I don’t mean to offend by this, but that’s what always happens, so I have decided I am no longer leaving anyone any more comments.

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