04/15 ~ MORE HOLINESS

From the Preacher’s Pen…

RacineBuildingDo you ever struggle with your faith? Years ago I met a young Christian that claimed she didn’t think she had ever sinned. It was incredibly sad to realize that she felt that she really didn’t even need a Savior.

Do you ever struggle with your faith? Years ago I met a young Christian that claimed she didn’t think she had ever sinned. It was incredibly sad to realize that she felt that she really didn’t even need a Savior.

Do you ever struggle with your faith? Years ago I met a young Christian that claimed she didn’t think she had ever sinned. It was incredibly sad to realize that she felt that she really didn’t even need a Savior.

Years ago I met a man about to lose his physical life that claimed he didn’t think he needed any help, that he didn’t need someone to save him. As he ignorantly faced certain death, he, much like the Christian, failed to recognize real danger and was perfectly comfortable in believing a lie… even if it cost life and soul.

The Apostle John expressed the problem like this: If we say that we have no sin, we are deceiving ourselves and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. If we say that we have not sinned, we make Him a liar and His word is not in us. (1 John 1:8–10)

So let me ask again, “Do you ever struggle with your faith?” Let’s consider our need for…

More Holiness

Originally written with the title of “My Prayer,” this is one of many songs by the well-known 1800s songwriter P. P. Bliss. While a large number of secular songs are about lost love and difficulties in life, most hymn writers share the good news of positive love and lessons from God.

In P. P. Bliss’ case, he shared his joy with his wife Lucy. Just three years after he wrote what he often talked about as his favorite prayer song he and his wife lost their lives in a railway crash when a bridge collapsed. P. P. Bliss was last seen alive trying to rescue Lucy from the burning wreckage of the train.

The great lesson of this prayer is an important one for each of us as we are called to live like Christ’s family in this world where there are so many challenges to our faith.

More holiness give me, more strivings within.

More patience in suffering, more sorrow for sin.

More faith in my Savior, more sense of His care.

More joy in His service, more purpose in prayer.

Jesus’ request in the Garden of Gethsemane for God’s will to be done is not, as many see it, a cop-out for not getting our own way. Rather it is the most mature and difficult request we can make of our Father. A request for God to do what is truly best and that we will not be just okay with it but truly accept it as our will, too.

When we’ve truly let go of our lives and let God direct us, we can begin to grow in the right direction. Seeing His will and truly accepting it leads to real faith, real understanding, real joy and real purpose.

More gratitude give me, more trust in the Lord.

More pride in His glory, more hope in His Word.

 More tears for His sorrows, more pain at His grief.

  More meekness in trial, more praise for relief.

Gratitude is one of the easiest positive attitudes to fake and one of the hardest to truly feel. It’s based on humility and understanding that He is truly greater than we are.

Never are we more vulnerable than when we lose our pride in ourselves. Never are we more grateful than when we find our greatest pride in our Savior! When we truly kneel at the cross and make Him our greatest joy we begin to appreciate the giver and His matchless gift.

More purity give me, more strength to o’ercome,

More freedom from earth-stains, more longings for home.

More fit for the kingdom, more useful I’d be,

More blessed and holy, more, Savior, like Thee.

Purity! It is so easy to say and so hard to maintain. Like a young child trying to keep clean when there’s a perfectly good mud puddle around, we struggle to keep pure in a world filled with seemingly fun and desirable sin. It is a lifelong struggle but one that is oh so worth making if we would just remember what home is like.

Too many times we confuse God’s wonderful mercy and grace with a false sense of humility. Yes, we are sinners and yes, we are never worthy of God’s matchless gift of forgiveness. But the very moment we excuse our failure to do our very best in obedient service, we risk being totally unfit, unholy and unblessed.

Few Scriptures are more threatening to this excuse-making than Hebrews 6:4-6. As we are challenged to quit acting like babies and grow up (a challenge the Apostle Paul also made in Ephesians 4:14-16), we are reminded that if we do not grow into greater holiness that we will lose everything that Christ died to accomplish.

May we always continue to strive to be more fit for the kingdom, more useful, more blessed and holy, more like Jesus!

— Lester P. Bagley

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