The greatest gift you can give to the people you lead is your personal holiness. With the honor of being a leader in the church comes the responsibility to put holiness as a top priority and pursue Christ above all else. Unfortunately, I struggle all of the time when it comes to my pursuit of holiness. Holiness is a daily quest to turn more and more of my life and desires over to God as the Holy Spirit makes me more aware of my sin. It is through Scripture and other Godly people that the Holy Spirit shows me what areas I need to grow in personal holiness.
Several years ago, our church was looking for where the scriptures mention holiness as a means to motivate us to pursue holiness. As a result, a resource was created with a list of 40 Motivations for Holiness. This is a powerful resource in looking into God's Word to guide us in our pursuit of holiness.
As I journey through life as a minister, I want the journey to be marked with holiness, so this will be a series of posts, probably not every week, but from time to time they will pop up here with each post focusing on one of the motivations from scripture. The first motivation is Duty.
"Now all has been heard;
here is the conclusion of the matter: Fear God and keep his commandments,
for this is the duty of all mankind"
Solomon, highly regarded as one of the wisest people ever, concludes his book by describing the duty of all people to fear God and keep his commandments. The word duty means responsibility or obligation. There is a sense in which this is a baseline response for all mankind. This from a man who would allow his own desires to get in the way (check out 1 Kings 11). Does this make Solomon a hypocrite? No, it makes him human, and it doesn't make his assertion that holiness as a duty any less true.
If you think about it, every relationship that we enter into in this life carries with it a set of responsibilities or proper ways to respond to the other party so that the relationship can thrive and explore new depths and possibilities (aka intimacy). I've found that to be true the longer I'm married to Erin. This was dramatically reinforced when I became a father to Eliana and Everett. How true that is in our relationship with God? When we "fear" (not a negative trepidation, but a reverent respect) God and keep his commands out of duty we show up every day in anticipation that God is going to show us more of Himself and take us to greater depths of understanding what it means to pursue Him. Cheap intimacy comes as a result of cutting corners in the realm of duty and responsibility.
Holiness is a journey which requires that we trust God and obey what He says. Each command that we keep is a statement to our Heavenly Father that we trust His ways more than our own. Let's not be naive and think that this is somehow earning any type of status with God...that alone is accomplished by the work of Christ. Rather than earning status with God, our obedience helps us remember that God is in charge and our belief in Him combined with His grace through Jesus Christ sets us apart.
Sometimes the word duty in relationship to God gets shackled with the connotation that God has high demands for us which we can never attain. There is a sense in which that is correct, which is what makes the gift of grace so amazing....but God's grace does not erase the duty of holiness.
Have you ever considered holiness as the duty of a Christian?