“Create in me a clean heart, O God, And renew a steadfast spirit within me.” -Psalm 51:10
Sometimes one has to wonder where holiness has gone to in our corps. I don’t mean to be harsh but have we forgotten this vital, vital element in our ministry? Isn’t Holiness that which continues to transform the soul into the image of Christ? Doesn’t the work of the Holy Spirit still have the power to transform lives far beyond our wildest human imagination can fathom? Have we grown up so much as an Army that holiness has taken a back seat to service and good works? Dare I say that if that ever becomes the case we will have lost the most vital component of our mission.
For Thy Mission Make ME Holy!
Samuel Logan Brengle has been the most influential writer of The Salvation Army to me on this topic of holiness. Yet we need additional theologians to boldly step forward in our Army to pick up the torch of Brengle. I do not believe that the Holy Spirit is static, nor is His mission for our lives. He transform us because we are imperfectly marred by sin. The Holy Spirit transforms our hearts and lives for the purpose of cleansing us completely. This work might take a lifetime. Many times the transformation and cleansing is dependent upon our willingness to relinquish and surrender that which we have held onto even after initial sanctification.
Questions to ponder for our Army:
How often do you preach on holiness in your corps?
How often do you hear bible studies or sermons on holiness in your corps?
Is holiness and the desire to be like Jesus in every way, shape and form truly something which you personally strive for. I do not wish to imply that doing works will bring us holiness but doing what the Holy Spirit prods us to brings us into an attitude of full surrender.
How full and complete is your surrender?
How willing are you to remain on the altar despite the challenges that come your way?
What still remains in your life that needs surrendering?
What is holding you back?
All That Jazz
The topic of holiness may seem like a very deep theological conversation. Some may even steer clear of it because it just seems too “heady” of a conversation. Our Army is a holiness movement. We believe in the moving of the Holy Spirit. We believe He can make us like Christ through a surrendered life. We believe that it is possible to be holy people of God. Holiness is not physical perfection but it is desiring to be like Christ and the determination to live for Him in every facet of life.
As a Solider of this Army, may it be our mission to live holy lives in every area of it. Don’t just be a Sunday Soldier and then leave the corps and live a completely different life apart from the fellowship of other comrades of salvation. Don’t assume that putting on the uniform makes you holy, or that because your parents believe and are saved it is good enough for you. This personal relationship with the Lord is vital. He wants you all to himself! He doesn’t want to share you with the world and with anything else that would hold you captive. God desires a right relationship with YOU! He is jealous for you. He loves you so deeply that He cannot allow you (us) to remain unfinished as we are now. Thus the Holy Spirit longs to complete this work within us…but are we willing to allow Him to poke and prod us? Are we willing to reveal those tender areas of our hearts that we have not yet been relinquished and given to God? The Christian walk doesn’t end at the altar of salvation…it is just the beginning.
“Holiness is not absolute perfection, which belongs to God only; nor is it angelic perfection; nor is it Adamic perfection — for, no doubt, Adam had a perfect head as well as a perfect heart before he sinned against God. But it is Christian perfection — such perfection and obedience of the heart as a poor fallen creature, aided by almighty power and boundless grace, can give.” -Samuel Logan Brengle
Prayer: Lord it is our desire to be like You! Reveal to us that which is still unsurrendered in our lives today. May Your Holy Spirit fall afresh on us again. Protect us from apathetic hearts and slothful minds. Renew in us a right relationship with You. Oh Lord create in us a clean heart once again. Give us a heart for You and for others. May we be available to extend your grace and mercy to those around us in our communities and in our ministries. Lord for Thy service make us Holy. -Amen.