Have you ever had a new years resolution that you didn’t keep? If you’re like me, a better question might be, Have I ever kept a new years resolution? If we’ve reviewed our maturity and determined to prioritize the pursuit of holiness, we need to have an action plan that will bring it about. It isn’t enough to want to be holy. We need to arrange our schedule and our lives in order to become holy.
For our spiritual vitality to be what it needs to be, and what we want it to be, we need to have the right purpose. This meant adopting God’s purpose for us, which is to become holy as He is holy. Since we forget God’s priority for us and we get distracted with other things, we need vigilantly keep the pursuit of holiness at the front of our mind continually. But it isn’t enough to remind ourselves of God’s purpose. We need to act on these reminders. There are two things we need to allow this purpose to motivate us to do.it isn’t enough to remind ourselves of God’s purpose. We need to act on these reminders Click To Tweet
The habitual pursuit of holiness
What does it look like to pursue holiness? Think of someone who is devoted in every way to the Lord. What sets them apart? Certainly their godly character should. But what do they do to instill this godly character in their life? Be assured that godly character doesn’t happen accidentally. We must do something that builds this in us.
The pursuit of holiness requires a regular activity focused on this goal. Because holiness is contrary to our sin nature, we know it doesn’t happen accidentally. Holiness takes effort and time. On a regular basis (daily, or close to it), we need to work at this pursuit. This doesn’t mean we don’t work on it in between these times. Instead, we’re making self-reflection, prayer and Bible reading part of our normal routine in order to establish this holiness in our lives.
Set aside time
What we call it isn’t important. What is important is that we have regular time set aside to engage thoughtfully in this pursuit of holiness. This sort of daily pursuit requires setting aside time on a regular basis
There is a saying, “Things that don’t get scheduled, don’t get done.” If we’re going to make the pursuit of holiness something we actually do, we’ll need to set aside a time to devote to it. Many get hung up right here. We’d rather spend an extra hour watching a TV show or movie or reading a book than spending time pursuing holiness. Why? Because our flesh desires against the Spirit (Gal 5:17). If the Holy Spirit wants us to be holy, the flesh desires against holiness. My flesh desires me to rest, to read, to laze around. It tells me that I don’t need God, that I need “me time” and all sorts of other lies. I have to work against the desires of the flesh to make regular time happen.Be assured that godly character doesn’t happen accidentally. We must do something that builds this in us. Click To Tweet
My personal plan is to wake up and spend the first hour of my day working on my pursuit of holiness. Sometimes it doesn’t happen, but most of the time it does. The ability to make this time happen is directly related to my commitment to making it happen. My commitment to this time is, in turn, related to my conviction that I need to grow in holiness. If I never take the time to confront my heart, my conviction of my need for holiness will be weak. Which leads to the next aspect of this time—what to do with it.
Using time meaningfully
The other thing that is important in this is the activities I use within that time. If I spend my time reading my Bible, that’s great. But one thing I’ve learned is that the more we engage with our quiet times, the more my heart engages with holiness. For this reason, while Bible reading is great, there is more I can do to engage myself in the pursuit of holiness in the time I regularly set aside for this purpose.If I never take the time to confront my heart, my conviction of my need for holiness will be weak. Click To Tweet
Address the Heart First
Here are some things I’ve found useful. First, I’ve often found that when I come to spend this time pursuing holiness, my mind and my desires are not interested in what I’ve come to do. My flesh would rather do other things; get distracted with my phone, or the wonders of the internet and social media, or find some other book to read. So I start by asking myself where my heart is. I write down the answer to this question.
Second, I need to recall that God is gracious and so I write down three things I can give thanks for. These could be mundane things, or one of those big events that happen to us occasionally. The purpose is to recognize that God is good, and as His creature, I am a beneficiary of His goodness to me daily. I then pray, bringing these two things to the Lord, sometimes confessing sin, or my sinful reluctance to submit myself fully to Him, and always thanking Him.God is good, and as His creature, I am a beneficiary of His goodness to me daily Click To Tweet
Be changed by the Word
After I have reflected on my heart, I will more readily recognize my need of change. Therefore, I’m in a good position to hear God through His Word. So, I’ll spend some time reading. Sometimes I’ll write down observations I make in the text, sometimes I write in the margin of my Bible, sometimes I just read.
Finally, I’ll close in prayer, praying about anything in my reading that has stood out and also working through my prayer list.
This whole process takes as little as 15 minutes, depending on what you read and the length of your prayer list. I tend to take 45 minutes to an hour, though sometimes I spend longer.These two things, regular time and meaningful time are foundational for the pursuit of holiness Click To Tweet
These two things, regular time and meaningful time are foundational for the pursuit of holiness. This is what I’ve called a quiet time, though some call them devotions or something else. A quiet time is simply regular time set aside to pursue God’s purpose for us—holiness.
Let me challenge you as you begin a new year to make a quiet time a habit so that you too can grow in holiness. Set a regular time and aim to increase the frequency that you use that time for that purpose. Within that time, follow the general pattern above to confront your heart and let the change process work in you.
What will your habit look like? Leave a comment below.