30 years ago I was a different person than I am today. I dressed differently, I ate differently, and I valued different things. Even my very nature has become changed. My approach to people is different and how I treat folks has changed. In 30 years I have been deeply influenced by a person with whom I have spent a lot of time. I’ve opened myself to her influence on me and worked at integrating her life and values into my own. She likewise has done the same. Kathy has had an immense influence in shaping my life. The natural consequence of “hanging out with someone” is that we become like them.
If I have been so dramatically transformed by being with my wife for 30 years, can you imagine the influence of “hanging out with Jesus?” He who is God will shape and influence your life significantly as you are in close proximity to Him. And the chief characteristic of God is HOLINESS. It stands to reason, then, that when you are in close proximity with God through Jesus Christ, you will become altered to reflect that character and nature.
It doesn’t happen with one encounter in a crisis. While that may be a catalyst, the deep change that goes on in your life happens over continuous exposure to God. And the pathway to being with God is the relationship you have with Jesus Christ. He is in fact The Way. No one comes into close proximity to God except through Him.
So my caution to you is this: Don’t pursue holiness. “What?!” you say. How can you say such a thing? Well it’s just this – when you pursue holiness you are pursuing the evidences of God’s effect in your life. You wind up trying to replicate behaviors. Rather let me challenge you with this: Pursue proximity to God through Jesus. The effect will be that you will be transformed in reflecting God’s nature – which is holy!