(graphic from DeadyViper)
All around me in this world is the pressure to be unholy. And sometimes I simply forget… or ignore… or zone out. Sometimes I let my guard down and don't spend time loving and being with God like I should. I don't always live a "holy" life at home or work. I don't always live a "holy" life as a father, as a husband, as a pastor, as a friend, as a brother, as a son. If I did, those around me would be more free to flourish in their relationship with God. Or, I suppose, if I were really doing it right, I'd be more curious to those around me for not fitting into the pattern of this world.
1 Peter 2:9-10 says: "You are a chosen people. You are a kingdom of priests, God's holy nation, his very own possession. This is so you can show others the goodness of God, for he called you out of the darkness into his wonderful light. One you were not a people; now you are the people of God. Once you received none of God's mercy; now you have received his mercy. Dear brothers and sisters, you are foreigners and aliens here. So I warn you to keep away from evil desires because they fight against your very souls."
Ask anyone close to me and they'll tell you that my brain is not always wired with unlimited passion for righteousness.
The current reality of my life is that I am far from where I should be… far from being "holy". My heart is not always geared towards an uninterrupted eagerness for selflessness. Sometimes I let laziness and easiness and self-centeredness win… to the detriment of those around me and to my own relationship with God.
But even in the routine of the everyday, when things aren't fresh and exciting. Even in the mundane events of each hour, when life can seem empty and dull, or heavy and burdensome. Even then God is pouring mercy over my soul.
When I receive his mercy, I no longer fit into this world. And perhaps that is why it is so difficult for me to be holy. Perhaps part of me wants to fit. For all around me in this world is the pressure to fail, to give up, to let in, to think something is not worth fighting for, to not passionately embrace. If I do these easy things, then I get to belong… to the world. It's easy. It's self-focused. It's what everybody else is doing (it seems sometimes). All around me is the pressure to demand what's in it for me, to justify being selfish, to convince myself of my rights and of others' faults. All around me in this world is the pressure to be unholy.
But then God pours his mercy over my soul. And when I think about his mercy my mind no longer conforms to the un-holiness of the world. My mind is renewed and I am transformed. Receiving God's mercy releases the unholy dead weight from my heart. Filled with his mercy, filled with his holiness, I am ready to truly live.
Dear friends, I urge each myself, like a stranger in this world, to live such a holy life that God is glorified and praised. While war is waged against my soul, God is pouring out his mercy on me. So today, I commit myself, again, to living a life that has received God's mercy.