As praise to God for his transcendent greatness is the doxological basis of holiness, so commitment to spend one's life expressing gratitude for God's grace, every way one can, is its devotional basis. As the Puritans used to say, the heart of holiness is holiness in the heart. The holy sacrifice that gives God pleasure is the Christian whose heart never ceases to be grateful to him for his grace. God is pleased with the Christian whose aim every day is to express that gratitude by living to him, through him, and for him, and who is constantly asking, with the psalmist, "What shall I render to the Lord for all his benefits to me?" (Psalm 116:12).
I read this on the weekend from the The J.I. Packer Classic Collection. It's quoted from his book Rediscovering Holiness. It has been on my mind a lot since I read it.
How concerned are we with personal holiness? Are we more concerned with our favourite issues than holiness? How concerned are with with the day to day thoughts and actions that make up the majority of our lives? How is our holiiness reflected in our conduct? How often do we think about verses like Romans 12:1-2, and think about how we can offer our lives as a living sacrifice?
Are we more concerned with being right? Being noticed? Getting attention? Having the last word? How often do we claim our desire for importance and attention is "ministry?" How often are we willing to be unnoticed and ignored?
Sad to say, many who consciously want to pursue holiness are often labelled legalists. The fact of the matter is that living a holy life does require making conscious decisions to put ourselves in places where holiness happens. I will have a lot of trouble with holiness if all I care about is how much attention I'm getting, or how often I'm right. I may a little dense, but somehow, I think holiness has a lot to do with making myself of no account.
I suppose this isn't a very Christmasy thought. But isn't that exactly what Christ did by being born in human flesh? Make himself of no account? Isn't that what we celebrate in December?