“I am not indebted to you, nothing stands between us.”
This is a greeting in Uganda, Africa.
How do we know in our lives that we have been set apart, have been made holy? By our actions and response.
I remember how my sister Betsie really grew in holiness. I once read a letter which said: “Holiness is the Holy Spirit, a holy God in my heart, which makes me similar to Jesus.”
The large number of prisoners in the concentration camp always felt like a kind of threat. There were so many criminals among them and everything was so dirty. When you passed through a dense crowd, you always had to knock off the vermin that had settled on your coat. It often frightened me. Once one of those crowds appeared in the street and Betsie said, “I love the crowd.” You see, it was a loving response, the Lord Jesus’ response in Betsie. She could not have responded in such a way of her own accord. Wanting to be like Him is what had actually happened.
When you come to think of it, you wonder, how can it ever become a reality in me? How can we have such a New-Testament-like experience of holiness? An unconditional surrender is what you need first.
Romans 12:1–2 says: “Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God — this is your spiritual act of worship. Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is — His good, pleasing and perfect will.”
You see, a potter can only mold the clay when it lies completely in His hand. It requires complete surrender.
When the Lord says to us, “Give Me your heart,” and we do so, then we need to trust that He will take it. This surrender is not only important when there are great events in our lives, but also in everyday life. My father was a watchmaker. He once said to me, “My name is on my shop, but really God’s name should be on the shop, because I am a watchmaker by the grace of God.”
When you have surrendered to the Lord, He is with you. He is your Guide, and your Shepherd, forever. I mentioned the word guide. An alpine mountaineer, accompanied by a guide, will use the guide when the path is very easy and very straight, but also when it is steep and hazardous. The guide will always be with him on a venture like that.
The same applies to the Lord. He is always with us. Today, while preparing a meal, while writing, while teaching, while doing office work. There might not be any difficulties today. Yes, that is quite possible, but your Guide is with you; the Lord is with you.
We know that when difficulties arise, He will not let us down. I know from experience. I accepted the Lord Jesus when I was five. And He has never let me down! There will be many battles to fight, but one day there will be peace, and we will never be alone in our struggle.
The Holy Spirit can do that, and your secret weapon is your relationship with Jesus and the power of the Holy Spirit. If it is difficult, call on Him. God sanctifies what has been surrendered and committed to Him. We need to surrender to Him, commit ourselves. It can be accomplished by grace. God will do what is necessary to shape you. Otherwise it will never happen.
And when you surrender, God will purify what He takes, and He will empty before He purifies. And then He will fill what He has emptied, and what He has filled, He will use.
It means you are living out the Jesus Christ living in you. It doesn’t stop at surrender, just like a marriage does not stop at the wedding.
You see, holiness can bring about a new conflict. We need to take care. The Devil wants to lead us into the energy of our inner selves. Preaching yourself, relying on yourself, boasting about your faith, taking pride in your own experiences. And then the Devil will say, “Revel in your own experiences.” But that is not right. You should not rely on your past experiences. It may strengthen your faith, but holiness is living out the Jesus Christ living in you. It will become a kind of process of daily surrender. An exercise in faith. A daily exercise in obedience.
The Christian who compromises, who has only partly surrendered, will find life really difficult. Nobody can serve two lords.
When you hear this, you might say, “Yes, I can see, but my faith isn’t big enough.” However, this is not the time to reflect on your faith. You should look at the Lord.
Once I was waiting at a very primitive bridge in New Zealand. We were traveling by car, but we didn’t dare to cross. First, one of the men in the car went to investigate if the bridge was strong enough. It appeared to be strong enough, even though it was very primitive, and we crossed without a problem. This man was not investigating our trust in the bridge.
Very often, we tend to look at our faith, and we know our faith is big and strong, or weak and small. But we shouldn’t investigate our faith; we should investigate the Bridge.
We should not rely on ourselves, but on Him. And when we look to Jesus, we know that He is strong.
The Holy Spirit will not desert you. His peace will reign in your heart. Accepting holiness is a decision. The Lord has selected you for His service. The path is uphill. When you climb a mountain it does not mean that you have reached Mount Everest. It is quite a trek, but it is so wonderful that when we are with Jesus, we are with God.
Lord Jesus, we praise You. And thank You, that You repair our faith when it doesn’t work very well, and that You will live in us, that we are in You, that You are in us, which makes us similar. Isn’t it wonderful! We thank You for Your Holy Spirit. Hallelujah! Amen.
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In what area of your life do you know your actions and responses need to be made holy? How does your mind need to be renewed and transformed? Betsie wanted to be like Jesus so His response to the dangerous concentration camp crowd came out of her mind and mouth. Take a moment to pray for the grace to rely on God’s reliable strength to empower you to be transformed in your actions and responses. Join the conversation on our blog! We would love to hear your stories of transformation! ~ Devotionals Daily