Happiness and Holiness

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Holiness and happiness might seem like opposites. But it is when we are at our holiest that we are also at our happiest.

Christ loved the church and gave him­self up for her to make her holy. (Ephesians 5:25-26)

Probably the greatest priority of people in the West is "being happy." What a shock it is, therefore, to discover that God’s priority for us is not happiness, but holiness – though, strangely, when we pursue the latter we find the former! At first sight, holiness and happiness might seem the very opposite of one another. Yet if we see holiness as simply "becoming like Jesus," we will understand that it is when we are at our holiest that we are also at our happiest.

All of us have heard children saying, "When I grow up, I want to be a …" Mike wanted to be a train driver (but never became one), while Martin wanted to write dictionaries (and certainly did). Whether we become what we imagined or not, such desires are part of growing up. Likewise, every Christian should have a desire to grow up – not into our own plans and ambitions, but into becoming like Jesus. Look at His life and it’s clear that no holier a man ever lived; there wasn’t a trace of sin in Him. Yet Jesus lived life to the full and thoroughly enjoyed it. Surely this must tell us something about holiness.

The problem starts when we see holiness as "yet another demand" on our already-busy lives, something else we have to "do." But if we think like that, then we have lost before we have even begun. Left to ourselves and our efforts, holiness is an impossible task, for how can unholy people make themselves like the holy God? And whenever we try to, we simply fall into a religion of works and effort, and end up disappointed, defeated and frustrated. That is why it is important to remember that "Christ loved the church and gave him­self up for her to make her holy." In other words, this is all about Him! It is Jesus Who not only died for us, but who works His holiness into us, as we allow His Holy Spirit to rule our lives. Our part is simply to believe His promise and co-operate with Him! Try it today and see!

It is God who saved us and chose us to live a holy life. (2 Timothy 1:9, NLT)

© Copyright 2017 Martin Manser and Mike Beaumont

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