I heard this sermon at St Helen’s Bishopsgate when I visited London in February 2016. I remember that God spoke loudly to me that day, and made a few notes on a scrap piece of paper then. It has only taken me 3 years to finally dig out that piece of paper to revisit what I learnt and share it on this blog…
Romans 12: 1-8 (By Kevin DeYoung)
You can be holy.
Christ doesn’t just save us from sin’s penalty, but also from sin’s power.
Don’t just wax lyrical about what Christ has saved us from. What about what Christ has saved us to?
To be passionate in our pursuit of holiness, we must first establish that holiness is possible, that we can present ourselves holy and acceptable as God’s children.
Why do we not take being “holy and acceptable to God” seriously? Is it because we equate obedience to “sinless perfection”? (and as a result not believe that holiness is possible) Don’t. You can be holy and acceptable by works that are TRULY good, albeit not PERFECTLY good.
Our good works are accepted through Christ because God is a loving Heavenly Father. Consider a child who promptly and cheerfully responds to requests to clean up his/her room- the corners of the bedsheets are not properly tucked in, the toys are dumped messily together in a box, the clothes are folded but wrinkled. Yet, despite the imperfections, the parents do not reprimand but seek to praise the child.
Yes, the work may not be perfect. Yes, you could have done it much better yourself. Yet, it was truly good and pleasing to the parents. Because it was done sincerely, cheerfully and obediently.
Why is it so important to seek holiness and believe that obedience is possible?
1. If you don’t, you will give up in sanctification
2. You will relativise all sins as being equal in God’s eyes
3. If we don’t understand the possibility of holiness, we make it difficult to hear the warnings in scripture
4. If we do not understand the possibility of holiness, we will be robbed of one of our means of assurance.
5. If we do not have this understanding of holiness being possible, we will flatten and impoverish our relationship with God.
Don’t live your whole life with a low level sense of guilt and shame. This is not how God meant for us to live. If you are truly guilty of unrepentant sin, you run to the cross, ask for forgiveness and know the sweet serenity of a clean conscience. And when you are walking with Christ in humility, repentance and obedience, you ought to know the smile of your Heavenly Father.
God is not unmoved by our attempts at obedience. You are allowed and expected to be obedient. You never will be perfect. You cannot do anything to earn justification. But as a born-again sinner, you don’t have to be a spiritual failure. By the mercies of God, you CAN present your bodies as a living sacrifice– holy and acceptable to God. There is no righteousness that will make you right with God except for the righteousness of Christ. But for those who have been made right, by Christ and through faith alone, by undeserved mercy alone, your righteous deeds are not filthy in God’s sight.
Your obedience is precious, pleasing and possible.
I have been listening to Jam Hsiao over the Christmas and New Year period and have now decided that I really like him!
His voice is magnetic and mesmerising- and I quickly find myself lost in his magical music. This video started it all…
One video led to another
He also seems like a really lovely, considerate and gentle man.
I also love a man who embraces his inner child (but not too much) and is hilarious in the process!
Thumbs up from me! I shall be following him more closely and enjoying his music more!
I was chatting to a friend from church recently about the immense enjoyment that I get out of getting “in the zone” with brush-lettering and creating pieces. At that time, she introduced me to the concept of “flow” which I am now fascinated with.
What is flow?
“It is the mental state when the person performing a task is fully immersed in a feeling of energised focus, full involvement and enjoyment in the process of the activity. It is characterised by complete absorption in what one does, resulting in the loss of one’s sense of space and time.”
Here is a TEDtalk by Mihaly Csíkszentmihályi, the Hugarian-American psychologist who described it.
I don’t necessarily agree with him that Flow is THE secret to happiness as JESUS is the ONLY way to truly satisfying, life-changing happiness. However, I do agree that getting into Flow can contribute to emotional well-being. It puts us in a state of ecstasy where we no longer have any spare energy or attention to give our other problems and troubles.
I experience flow when I am creative (painting and lettering) and when I am exercising (even though the inertia is ALWAYS so great to start myself moving). I know that performing gets me into flow as well- I just don’t get enough chances to stand on stage to sing and act.
What gets you into your FLOW?
I hope to get into a state of FLOW much much more this coming year.
What a year 2018 has been. So much has happened.
In addition, I have also improved tremendously in my brush lettering. I can now do bouncy letters, flourish my letters, paint floral wreaths, and have even tried my hand at foiling. My work is by no means wonderful, but the progress is very visible and I am extremely proud,
OK, enough reflecting on the events of the past year. How did I fare with keeping my 2018 resolutions?
What do I hope for in the new year? Well, my motto for next year is to:
BE LIKE WATER.
Fluid and flexible: Be all things to all people. Receive change with a smile- don’t sweat over it.
Be cool and refreshing: Help others feel alive and inspired simply by being present.
Be strong, powerful and fierce, yet capable of calm stillness
More measurably, next year I hope to:
Here’s to a joyful and fruitful 2019!