2 Sides to Holiness

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What’s your favorite sport? I flounder between football and baseball. I know many people complain about the time it takes to play baseball games nowadays. But I love watching baseball because suspense lurks around every play.

But I also love football. There’s just something about watching the plays and cheering for my team. But anything can happen and the drama keeps me hooked. They both have offense and defense. Both can grab your attention at a moment’s notice.

There’s also something else about these two games. The team can only play either offense or defense at one time. In baseball, your only chance to put runs on the board is doing your offense of batting. Nobody in the outfield can change the score.

It’s true that in football the defense can change the score. But they are still on defense. However, this isn’t true when it comes to holiness. We’re supposed to play offense and defense at the same time. I know that sounds strange but let me clarify.

James-4:7-8 lays out the clear plan of holiness on both sides of the fence. Many Christians are so concerned with not sending and avoiding temptation, denying the flesh, and worrying about the negative sides of holiness that they forget there is a positive side.

We get caught up in this negative side, the defensive side. The second part of James 4:7 tells us to resist the devil. We are always playing defense against the devil, resisting him at every turn. We concentrate on the devil so much that we give him more credence than God.

Always being worried about temptation, sin, evil desires, worldliness, and the flesh makes us forget about the other side. It’s time to start playing offense in the holiness game. The first part of James 4:7 tells us to submit ourselves to God.

Now we’re talking about pleasing God by chasing after him with her whole heart and everything in us. We’re talking about surrendering to his will and serving him. This is the positive transformation of our character to be like his.

This is the exciting part that we neglect because we are so caught up in the first part. I am convinced that if we concentrated more on submitting ourselves to God, we wouldn’t have to worry about the defensive side as much.

If we focused on the Lord wholeheartedly and followed him completely, not giving any attention to the worldliness and wickedness we see around us, the defense would play the game on its own. After all, when your offense is scoring big the defense‘s job is much easier.

There’s an old song we used to sing called, “I Have Decided to Follow Jesus.” One of the verses replaces those words with these:

The world behind me the cross before me.
The world behind me the cross before me.
The world behind me the cross before me.
No turning back. No turning back.

When Paul tells us we are dead to sin and alive in Christ, I think this verse of that song captures the idea he conveys. Peter walked on water. As long as he focused on Jesus he was doing fine. But the moment he looked at the winds and waves around him, he began to sink into the water.

Are you willing to try an experiment with me? Let’s take this one week to play offense in holiness. Let’s focus on Jesus and pleasing him with everything we think, say, and do. I’m not saying that defense isn’t important. But let’s have some fun and play offense this week.

What can we surrender more to God? What extra step can we take to put a smile on Jesus’ face? Leave a comment and tell me what you think about this idea of offense and defense in holiness.

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