The Fruit of Holiness
A lot of us have negative connotations when we think of the words “discipline,” and “holiness,” but the Bible tells us that these are things we should desire and welcome in our lives. When we hear the word “discipline,” we might make it equal to punishment, or to equate it with suffering. God’s discipline, however, which leads us to holiness, is much more about guidance, direction and training than it is about punishment. He is like a parent guiding his young child on a tricycle, nudging us back onto the path when we are heading off track
Likewise, when we hear the word “holiness,” negative images and feelings may rise up. We might picture a monk hidden away in his bare cell, studying by candlelight and spending long days in prayer and solitude. Or, we might think of holiness as following a bunch of rules, denying ourselves anything fun, or be reminded of stern sermons and lectures we heard as children. Can holiness be something we can experience in our busy North American context? Can holiness be a positive thing, and can we be holy without being a monk?
We want to pray with the Psalmist, “Search me, oh God, and know my heart. Test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.” Opening ourselves to the Spirit will lead us to true holiness – holiness that isn’t based on following rules or isolating ourselves from people. Instead, it is a holiness that grows over time as we follow the Spirit’s guidance and discipline in our lives, and as we live in relationship with others out of that place of intimacy with Him.
by Brian Oger