Friday, August 7, 2009

Learning to be Holy

This is an excerpt from The Fight, emphasis mostly mine (i played around with the punctuation, too). i found John White's thoughts on holiness interesting and helpful, and hope that you will too. =)

Although i knew in my head that i was justified by faith, i rarely profited from the knowledge. i dragged my feet through life beneath a burden of guilt. often i had little heart for Christian duties (although for the most part i was faithful in maintaining them) because of a leaden sense of the impossibility of straightening out my life. how could i confess the same sin for the 100th time? where was my sincerity? having gone through 'sanctifying experiences' several times, having dedicated my all to Christ, having rested in Him, yielded to the Holy Spirit and trusted God to work in me what i could never work in myself, my situation seemed hopeless.

Light began to break over me when i realized in the depths of my spirit that i was forgiven, cleansed, accepted, justified; because of what Christ had done for me, and not because of the depth of my yieldedness. i had preached this gospel to non-Christians for 25 years but never tasted its full sweetness. it was as though dawn broke. suddenly the relief of knowing that i was forgiven and loved lifted the load off my spirit. i found that i was set free, free to be holy. To my astonishment i discovered that i wanted to live a holy life far more than i wanted to sin. Forgiveness freed me to do what i wanted most.

i cannot say that my life has been sinless since then, only that now each time i am guilt-ridden, i return to the Cross of our Lord Jesus. i go shamelessly. i don't struggle to experience feelings or to achieve the requisite degree of piety. i recognize that peace and forgiveness don't depend on my feelings... but on Christ and what He has done!

i haven't arrived at perfect sanctification. what has happened is that i have begun an ongoing learning process. the nearest thing i can compare it to is learning to sail... our little Laser, a boat that skims over the water like a bird (and capsizes at the drop of a hat!).

no, this dude isn't John White. but check out how
he's hanging out of the boat to balance it! whoah, man... =)

we sail it on a lake where the wind is gusty and veers frequently. i have capsized as many as 10 times in a single sail. but i am learning. it is something like learning to ride a bicycle in the middle of an earthquake, yet somehow i am beginning to harmonize with wind and water and sail. and if i am flung overboard as i capsize, i right the boat, get in again, and sail on. i am covered from head to foot in bruises, but who cares? i'm becoming a sailor!

in the same way, i am learning about holiness. at one time, it was only in shame and humiliation that i went back to the Cross for forgiveness. the humiliation included alot of self-conceit. now, i go back gladly. it is the basic manouevre of holy living. now, bruised and breathless, i scramble aboard my righted boat and sail on, praising my Redeemer. i am learning to sail. i am learning to be holy.

btw, The Wife came back on sunday, and life is so much brighter and chirpier when she's around. sometimes there are fireworks too, but that just makes things more exciting. =)

if you would, please pray especially for the upcoming School of Evangelism. registration is slow. pray that students will sign up, especially those from melaka. this camp was organized in cooperation with CF teacher-advisors in melaka, and students from melaka are the main target group.

pray for me also as i prepare sessions/talks for TUMC MYF (9 Aug), SUFES Prayer Meeting (12 Aug), Bukit Mewah SCF (14 Aug), Bethel Baptist Church (especially this one! 16 Aug), St. John's SCF (21 Aug, switched with my colleagues for Sri Garden) and the aforementioned School of Evangelism (24-26 Aug).

now, let us go... and inspired by the words of John White, let us continue to persevere in learning to be holy! =)


Cxtreme said...


not quite out of the boat to balance's a technique called hiking and used a lot in Laser sailing...u strap your legs in...then you use your boat to leverage the boat..haha maybe next time u come to sg i can bring u to have a go at it..when u coming again

Laser's a boat that has a very slim profile and a very large sail causing it to be very powerful yet capsizes easily...

well it's true what the writer said about forgiveness and such, but it's something i'm still learning to is it that i can ask for forgiveness and yet commit the same sin doesn't sound sincere does it, and it doesn't sound like i'm repentant. in that moment i feel removed from God, that i'm not worthy of his holiness (recalling the part wehre Moses saw the burning bush and was commanded to remove his sandals for it is Holy land.) Our God is a holy God, and how is it then, that we as sinners, can come face to face with Him....

siehjin said...

hey kelvin =)

not sure when i'll come to s'pore again... that's mostly up to The Wife's initiative, as she and her parents occasionally go down to visit The Bro-In-Law... =)

about repeatedly saying sorry for the same sin, i read another author (michael mangis, Signature Sins) who suggests that as we persevere in confessing and repenting from that besetting sin, we are showing God (and more importantly, as God already knows everything, confirming within ourselves) that we are serious about dealing with our sin and getting rid of it. we also begin to realise the enormity, seriousness, and deep-rootedness of our sin. one has to grasp the problem before the solution can be found. it's all part of the process of sanctification.

i think John White also points out elsewhere that the fact that we feel guilty and repentant each time we fall is an act of God - if not for His grace, we'd just keep on sinning and getting further and further away from Him. so even in our shame and guilt, there is thankfulness that He keeps calling us back to Himself. and as long as we do not give up the struggle, He won't either! =)

how is it that we sinners can come face to face with a holy God? because of the finished work of the Cross lor... =)

so, with those thoughts, let's keep walking with Him. just get up again when we fall. =)

akmj said...

DEEEEPPP stuff sieh jin!

thanks for sharing, I benefitted :)

yeah, with those DEEP thoughts, let's keep walking with Him, just get up again when we fall :)

let's finish the race and keep the faith :)

siehjin said...

Amen! =)