Holiness in Real Time
The pursuit of holiness isn’t just a mental pursuit the way a philosopher pursues an idea. Pursuing holiness happens in real time. Just as athletes practice for plays they’ll execute in a game, we need to be ready to practice our faith in the real circumstances of life.
Too often discipleship has been quarantined to a classroom setting. We can’t treat the truth of God’s Word like something to be dissected in a laboratory and left there while we reenter the world. There’s no value to learning if we don’t live according to what we’ve learned.
God wants our faith to connect us with holy living, and that includes caring for people in need. Though some believers reject the word religion, James 1:27 gives us a definition of true religion that pleases God. It’s a lifestyle of ministry, not merely a pursuit of knowledge. James used ministering to widows and orphans to represent ways to put our faith into practice.
Pursuing holiness is more than just a mental exercise of acquiring theological knowledge. We take what we learn and experience in our study of God’s Word and transfer it to active obedience in our lives.
Pursuing holiness means our faith and our works are companions rather than competitors. Demons know that God is true in what He says and that they should obey Him. Yet they don’t. When we fail to obey God’s Word, we put ourselves in the same position as spiritual beings who oppose God’s kingdom.
Each circumstance of life is an opportunity to exercise what you’ve learned from God’s Word. Just like an athlete who trains for a competition, this is your moment. The truth you’ve learned should shape the life you lead.
Our works don’t replace our faith. Instead, works respond to and display our faith. Abraham and Rahab were totally different types of people. They had different lives and were used by God in different ways. But what they had in common mattered: their faith that was exercised in real time.
An excerpt from my small group study “Pursuing Holiness: Applications from James”