They say everyone loves a winner. But they also like to back the underdog. Our culture is obsessed with winning no matter what form it takes. Is winning everything? To some it is and to others it’s not.
I like to watch a winner. Whether it’s sports or seeing a person succeed when they didn’t think they could, I like to see a great story behind the win. All the struggles in the moments a person could have given up or a team fell just short and then come back and overcome.
Holiness is no different. God wants us to succeed. He sets us as his special people, in the midst of a world that becomes our training ground. He calls us to come out from among them and be holy as he is holy. And he’s there, watching us, willing us to succeed. But his success is completely different from the world’s definitions.
The world is full of tests and temptations. And when we obey the Holy Spirit and follow his lead we see godly success. God determines the definition of success for Christians. It’s when we meet his expectations in every moment.
We can’t do this on our own. It’s good to know that God gives us the Spirit and seals us at salvation with him. But he can’t just sit there. We need to follow him and obey him. That may be the greatest key to success in holiness.
Without the Holy Spirit, we would have to rely on legalism. Knowing exactly what to do in every situation is the only recourse. Instead of following the letter of the law, we follow the Spirit. And he lets us know what God wants for us in every circumstance of life.
We could settle for victory over temptation and sin. At least this approach fulfills half of God’s expectations for holiness. But as we’ve discussed before, there’s more to holiness than just staving off temptation and sin.
There’s living in the abundance that God provides for us (John 10:10b). More than resisting the devil, we want to destroy his reign on this earth. The grip he has on the people of this world, our friends, neighbors, family members, we want to smash every influence he has here.
Pushing back against the darkness and standing against the schemes of the enemy becomes a matter of holiness. We can’t stand by and let the world do depraved things without speaking and acting against it.
Does this make us activists? Well, we have a cause in Christ. We want to see his kingdom come. We want this world to see the light of Jesus and his righteousness. We want justice to come to a world full of corruption.
So that does make us activists. Being an activist isn’t wrong. It’s the methods that count. Some methods yield positive results and others don’t. What does it mean to live a holy lifestyle? We want the world to see Jesus, his righteousness and his love for them.
One of the best ways to do that is through lifestyle evangelism. They see how we live and the words we speak. It makes them hungry to see what Jesus has to offer. But we could ruin it with methods that turn people off to the message.
God has goals for each of us. He wants to draw us to himself so we can dwell in his presence forever. God-pleasing thoughts, speech, and actions get us there. Maybe the Holy Spirit focuses on noticeable character issues like stealing, gambling, or coveting.
But I’ve found that the deeper character traits are harder to obey, like jealousy, integrity, anger, and pride. Character has layers and the Holy Spirit isn’t interested only in the surface. He may start with the more noticeable traits, but he peels the layers back to get to the deep parts of us and heal all of them.
To have true victory is to walk with Jesus and obey the Holy Spirit. But we must put our holiness into action. We pray and seek God’s desires for our lives and the lives of those around us. The disciples walked with Jesus, following him so that the dust of his feet set the path for them to follow. He’s not changed his methods since then.
Like Paul, we press on for the prize of knowing Christ and his power in us (Philippians 3:10-11). When we reach heaven and stand in his presence, we want to hear him say, “Well done, my good and faithful servant.” Holiness leads us to the throne room of God as his children.
How do you view the victory God wants you to live in? What steps can you take to show God’s righteousness in our world? Leave a comment and tell me what victories Jesus wants you to have to grow closer to him.