Hebrews 12:14 contains some of the strongest words in the bible: “Make every effort to live in peace with all men and to be holy; without holiness no one will see the Lord.”
I was speaking with a friend and advisor recently and the subject of holiness came up. He quickly said, “There’s something about that subject that is at the heart of who you are, isn’t there?”
My answer was quick: “Yeah, but I hate it.”
He brought balance: “It might be better to say, ‘and’ I hate it.”
I think that’s a fair perspective. Something in me wants to pursue holiness, longs to teach on holiness, was trained at a school that is founded on holiness (Asbury Seminary) . . . yet another part of me wants nothing to do with the subject, either in my life or on this pulpit.
Because part of me recognizes that a life of genuine holiness is a life in which I give up control. A life in which I don’t get my own way. A life in which, as John the Baptist said of Jesus, “I must decrease so that he might increase.”
And I don’t want to preach or teach in a way that creates a community that is “holier than thou” or encourages people to drift towards spiritual pride.
But my reluctance doesn’t change the truth: without holiness no one will see the Lord.
So the better angels of my nature love holiness. The worse angels don’t.
I’ll keep you posted as to who comes out on top in that one.