I wonder how much more effective blogs would be if we didn’t care about sounding profound. I’ve sat here and tried to write about three different blog posts, all killed by my attempts to be too fancy with words. Writing from a heart devastated by the truth of God’s Word as mediated by the Holy Spirit is harder than I’d like to admit. My pride wants to sound wise. Pride wants to write something that will cause people to remember me. Pride cares little for the glory of God and much for the glory of self. And I think it’s really easy to write for the glory of self while thinking you’re writing for the glory of God.
WordPress has two dangerous features: the comment page, and the statistics page. It’s easy to write something that will get comments. Controversy stirs people to share their own opinions. Or, write something unusual. My two most commented on posts are the one on raising your hands in worship and my interpretive poem about Abraham and Isaac. It’s really easy to chase comments. I’ve done it. And God faithfully disappoints. Likewise, the statistics page can easily become an idol. For those of you without a WordPress blog, it tracks the number of hits your pages and posts get per day. The more hits, the more people are reading your blog. And it feels good to have people read my blog. And sadly, oftentimes it feels good not because they’re reading about the Lord, but because they’re reading my thoughts about the Lord. It’s easy to lower the goal from writing for the glory of God to writing for influence.
This isn’t a “I’m done with blogging” post. On the contrary, I deeply enjoy blogging and wish I had more time to write. Rather, I want to say to my fellow bloggers what has been pounding through my head every time I sit down to write a post: be careful. Be careful. Blogging can be a God-glorifying, soul-sanctifying, lost-reaching, conversation-starting tool. Or it can be a deadening, burdening iron, used by Satan to sear the soul into searching for personal glory. I’m privileged to be part of the TMC blogging circle and praise God for the work he’s done in my life through the blogs on my blogroll.
Soli Deo Gloria.
Was the title of this post a turnoff? That question isn’t meant to be in-your-face. It’s just an honest question. Holiness is not a popular word. It’s practically fallen out of our vocabularies. When uttered, it now almost has a pejorative hue to it. It sounds stuffy. It sounds Victorian. It sounds like something that strips the relevance right out of Christianity. If someone were to call you or me holy, would we recoil because it isn’t true, or because it makes us sound flat-out irrelevant? It’s an easy question to gloss over without any true introspection. Do we avoid the word holiness because it is condemning or because it is seen as a liability or hindrance?
We don’t pray that God would make us holy anymore. We ask God to make us “Christ-like.” We ask God to pry our clutching fingers from the sin we love. We ask God for wisdom and guidance. But we don’t ask God for holiness. But isn’t praying for Christ-likeness the same as praying for holiness? Biblically, yes. But American Christianity is enamored with the idea that you can be Christ-like and not be set apart. It’s bent on trying to prove that you can listen to the music that glorifies the ungodly, and watch the peeping-tom movies, and pepper your speech with innuendo for humor’s sake and still be “Christ-like.” Throughout church history, that wasn’t considered relevance. That was considered irrelevance. What good was a Christian who looked like the world?
Our culture detests anything holy. The great American motto is: “Don’t rock the boat.” We don’t care who you are, what you do, or what you believe so long as you look like everybody else. And yet true, authentic Christ-likeness means to be different. How did the Romans know who to toss to the lions? God’s holy people couldn’t blend in. How did the Roman Catholic Church know who to burn at the stake? The people who were rocking the boat. The world is always unholy. Therefore the world’s culture will always be unholy. Being Christ-like means being set apart. It means rocking the boat.
I think it is undeniable that our generation, our Christian culture, is horrified to call something sinful that really isn’t sinful. And I think we really don’t care about compromising holiness because we consider looking like Bob Jones or Pensacola to be a far greater sin than “crude jesting” or “filthy talk” or “walking in darkness.” Christian witness isn’t destroyed by looking different than the world. It’s destroyed by looking just the same as everybody else. What unbeliever wants a Savior that will change them into what they already are?
So when we pray for Christ-likeness, are we praying for holiness? Are we praying that God would set us apart and make us look different than the world and culture around us? If we are, then we’ll suffer for it. Satan will not tolerate those who do not participate in his culture of wickedness. And sadly, many Christians respond to holiness by turning their weapons upon their brothers and sisters whose lives stand in contrast to their own lack of holiness. Living a holy life is the same as painting a bull’s-eye right over your heart. Suffering is sure. But then again, Jesus told us it would be this way. These things I have spoken to you, so that in Me you may have peace. In the world you have tribulation, but take courage,; I have overcome the world…For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake and the gospel’s will save it…Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God. ( John 16:33…Mark 8:35…Matthew 5:8 )