August 2, 2012
When I think back to my time in medical school, I remember a day I anticipated for many years. Instead of practicing techniques (like drawing blood) on each other, the time had finally arrived for us to go into the hospital and play the part of a real doctor: working on real live patients … taking histories, performing physical exams, formulating diagnoses, ordering tests, being a part of the healing process, and really caring for patients. I even dressed the part, wearing a tie with my doctor’s white lab coat, stethoscope, reflex hammer, bags under my eyes, and ever-present bed head. That’s why I usually get a crew cut nowadays!
Not only did I dress the part, I was also taught how to act on the outside … take a history, respond with respect and professionalism, how to speak to nurses and other healthcare personnel using a special code – the medical lingo you hear on TV. But you see, none of this made me a doctor on the inside. So I always felt uneasy and insecure. My external façade tried to cover up my internal inadequacies. When I finally developed the mind and expertise of a doctor, peace erased fear and anxiety, and my internal state determined my external actions. I no longer had to fake it.
When we become Christians, God places the Holy Spirit in us. In doing so, He equips us to be holy. There is a vast difference between being holy and trying to appear holy. Trying to appear holy without submitting to the Holy Spirit is truly a form of hypocrisy. The Holy Bible teaches us that God reserved some of his strongest condemnation for those who paraded their pretense of holiness whenever they had an audience. Holiness can only happen when we are letting God live through us.
Our role is to get out of the Holy Spirit’s way. How? Absorb God’s instruction, spend time with God, and then exercise discipline and training by practicing what we are learning. It’s all about decision-making and developing the mind of Christ so we can be in sync with the Holy Spirit, and not at odds with His leading and guidance. Like becoming a trained and expert physician, it doesn’t happen randomly. We are called to renew our minds daily. What is your strategy today to renew your mind? Are you randomly trying to develop the mind of Christ? Peace will be quite elusive if your strategy is random.
Today, do you have a desire for peace? Then you have to work on your mind! Be disciplined, yes disciplined. (I love that word – training to ensure proper behavior and to build character; to make yourself do something regularly). That is how you become a disciple of Christ. One way to exercise this discipline is to STOP and think before acting in all situations, giving the Holy Spirit time and space to teach and act through us. Developing discipline is a series of decisions, so the ball is in your court. Acting the part or actually being the part is your decision, so choose well. That is what a good and faithful servant does. WITHIN REACH is designed to help you develop these disciplines.
Dear Father, Being holy is something I strive for, but the goal seems so elusive. It is elusive because I am in constant danger of falling prey to serious sin; especially pride and hypocrisy. I want to be holy in all my conduct because Your word clearly instructs me to be holy. Help me understand that holiness really is letting You live through me. I pray, Lord, for the patience to pause before I respond so that Your Holy Spirit may take charge and give me the response that lets other see that You live through me. I pray in the holy name of the One who teaches me how to be holy, Jesus Christ; and all God’s children say – AMEN!
But just as he who called you is holy, so be holy in all you do; for it is written: “Be holy, because I am holy.” 1 Peter 1:15-16
You, however, are controlled not by the sinful nature but by the Spirit, if the Spirit of God lives in you. And if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he does not belong to Christ. Romans 8:9