Unleash Your Inner Warrior
For this is the love of God, that we keep His commandments; and His commandments are not burdensome. - 1 John 5:3
What if when God said, “be holy, even as I AM holy,” it wasn’t just a command. What if it was an invitation? What if God is inviting us to be like Him? When I read that verse and I hear His voice, I don’t hear an angry, wrathful taskmaster saying “Be holy, or else!” I hear a gentle, loving God whisper to me like He's sharing the greatest secret in the world with me. He nudges me in the ribs and says, “Hey, be holy. Even as I AM holy. Wouldn’t that be awesome?” What if when He said, “You shall be holy unto me, because I the Lord am holy and I have separated you from other people, that you should be mine,” it was a beautiful promise? A promise that says because He loved us so much that He sent His only Son to save us, that we are being transformed in His image. A promise that says He has purposefully set us apart to be made like Him. In those moments, I find my heart is absolutely exhilarated. My heart is set alight as I am filled with a desire to be more and more like my Creator. I want nothing less than to be like Him!
As Christians, we are not meant to simply avoid scandalous sin, or to appear to be vaguely better than the rest of the world. We are not called to a life of keeping up outward appearances. We are called to actively live a life of righteousness; we are called to holiness. A life of holiness is not a life of trying harder out of our own self-effort. Trying to be holier out of our own effort is fruitless and always ends up in frustration out of our failure. (And to others, it looks like the ugly hypocrisy that it feels like and is. You’re not fooling anyone).
We are called to be imitators of Christ. We are invited to be holy as He is. How can we become more like He who is perfect? How can we imitate the living incarnation? We become more like whatever we focus on. (Focus on negatives and you will become negative. Focus on positives and you will become more positive.) If you spend time getting to know God, to know His nature, to know His thoughts, to know His heart, if you actively seek Him, if you seek first the kingdom, you will become more like Him. Fill your heart with the reality of His nature, and you will find your own nature becomes more like His. Just take a look at the great saints: they sought after God, and sought intimacy with Him. Their hearts were ravished by Love Himself, and they allowed Him to lay a firm, glorious foundation through what we call tradition: a gift from Him, not made-man traditions.
Christianity is not simply some easy religion that gives you a get-out-of-hell-free card, as much of Western “Christianity” would have you believe. No, Christianity is being radically dedicated and devoted to serving the one true living God, it is radical relationship with a savior, and it is living a radical lifestyle, wholly devoted to being pleasing to the One who gave all for us. It is relationship and religion together as one, not excluding one or the other. It is being ravished by love, and not denying the power of God's hand.
Separate that out, and take one without the other, and you will find you only have half of what it means to be a follower of Christ. If you are all about religion, simply following rules and living a strict lifestyle, but do not have relationship with Him, then it is empty. Remove religion in favor of relationship, then you will have no foundation, and in the end are essentially living however you like all while claiming to have some semblance of Christianity. Each one without the other is empty. The reason "religion" has become so empty is because we have lost so much of the beauty of tradition, and it has become empty rituals, rather than heart-felt devotion to Him. I have fallen in love with liturgy, and I love the formulated prayers of the days of old. As a prayer warrior, my heart is so moved by the sheer power of the words of the Lord that have been given to us to pray. These prayers are gifts given by God, and if you have a heart after His heart, they become beautiful and powerful and you become overwhelmed with awe.
“This is the covenant I will make with them after those days, says the Lord: I will put my laws upon their heart and on their mind I will write them" - Hebrews 10:16
So what does holiness look like? What does keeping His commandments look like? In Matthew 22:36-45, Jesus is asked, “Teacher, which is the greatest commandment of the Law?” to which He answered “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind. This is the great and foremost commandment. The second is like it, You shall love your neighbor as yourself. On these two commandments depend the whole law and the Prophets.” Of course we obey the commandments. However, rather than simply being written on tablets of stone, when we are born again, God writes His commandments on our hearts.
When we love as He loved, our hearts become like His. Well what if I can’t love someone? Love them until you do. Ha! Can you believe this chick? No, really. As C.S. Lewis wrote so eloquently in Mere Christianity, “Do not waste time bothering whether you ‘love’ your neighbor; act as if you did. As soon as we do this we find one of the great secrets. When you are behaving as if you loved someone, you will presently come to love him.”
Jesus said, “love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you” (Matthew 5:44). If you refuse to pray for your enemy, you’ll find negativity growing and churning in your head. Notice your own thoughts: notice as you ponder anger, stir up bitterness and let hatred fester and bitterness quell up in your mind. That is not what holiness looks like. But if you pray for your enemies, you are repositioning your thoughts. (Remember to pray positive prayers, not negative prayers). Pray in love for those you hate, and you will come to love them.
Not convinced? In Romans 13:10, Paul says “Love does not wrong to a neighbor; therefore love is the fulfillment of the law.” Just take a look at the Ten Commandments: if you love God and you love people, you do not violate the commandments. You cannot claim to love God and yet put another god above Him; you cannot claim to love your spouse and commit adultery; you cannot claim to love your neighbor and then murder him or steal from him. If you love God, you will not have any idols; if you love your spouse you will be faithful; if you love your neighbor, you will treat them well and not steal or murder. See? Love truly fulfills the law. In the same way, when Christ came, He who is Love become man and fulfilled the laws concerning sacrifices for our sins. When you are deeply struck with the revelation of what Christ's sacrifice on your behalf meant for you, it will be the launching point for you to "be holy even as I AM holy." All the laws that pertain to animal sacrifices and to priests doing the work in the temple have all been fulfilled in Jesus Christ's perfect life and His blood. To be forgiven of our sins, we need a sacrifice. Under the old law, that had to be offered up constantly because the animals were not perfect. Christ was the perfect, spotless, sinless lamb. He came as the only sacrifice that will could and would cover our sins.
"Under the new covenant, or gospel dispensation, full and final pardon is to be had. This makes a vast difference between the new covenant and the old one. Under the old, sacrifices must be often repeated, and after all, only pardon as to this world was to be obtained by them. Under the new, one Sacrifice is enough to procure for all nations and ages, spiritual pardon, or being freed from punishment in the world to come. Well might this be called a new covenant. Let none suppose that human inventions can avail those who put them in the place of the sacrifice of the Son of God. What then remains, but that we seek an interest in this Sacrifice by faith; and the seal of it to our souls, by the sanctification of the Spirit unto obedience? So that by the law being written in our hearts, we may know that we are justified, and that God will no more remember our sins." - Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary, Hebrews 10:11-18
Truly this is love, this is a life of holiness worth imitation. My dear warriors, your greatest weapon is love. Imitate Christ by using love as your ultimate weapon in whatever battle you face. Be holy as He is holy, because by His blood you were bought and set apart so you could become like Him!
©Michèle Aimée, 2015
About the Author
Michèle is a warrior with a passion for God, a deep love of writing, and a fire for combat training. As a warrior, she understands that when she is given orders, she must follow through.