Holiness is His Job

For He Who Began A Good Work in You, will Complete It-Phil 1:6

     I’m beginning to understand that holiness is not about changing our behavior; it is about changing our hearts.  For me, it is quite simple, if I have a desire to do something, even a sinful something, I will find a way to do it.  Even if I have set up external factors that prevent me from engaging in whatever behavior I have the desire to do, eventually I will find a way to do it.  Holiness is not about controlling my external environment; it is about changing the heart behind the behavior.  The removal of the desire is rarely accomplished by my own human efforts; it must be a work of the Holy Spirit.  For me, this is what Paul is talking about in the above-quoted verse.  I think this was also on David’s mind when he composed Psalm 139.

     David writes, “You have hedged me behind and before and laid Your hand upon me.” (139:5). It seems that David is recognizing the fact that God is doing a work in his heart that he is not able to accomplish on his own.  After yielding my heart to God, such as it is, sinful and all, The Holy Spirit will be begin to remove evil desires to from my heart.  He concludes, “Search me, O God, and know my heart; try me, and know my anxieties; and see if there is any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.” (Psalm 139: 23-24).  It seems that David is here describing the process of holiness.  He acknowledges that it is an “inside job” and requires the intervention of God.  Likewise, Psalm 141:4 states “Do not incline my heart to any evil thing, to practice wicked works.”  David knew that the process of sanctification is filled with events.  The removal of an evil desire from the heart is an event.  A baptism in the love of God is also an event.  However, the entirety of becoming holy, for me, has been a process filled with events.  These events lead me into increasing levels of holiness.  It seems this was also on David’s mind when he writes, “Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me.”