“Since we have these promises, dear friends,
let us purify ourselves from everything
that contaminates body and spirit,
perfecting holiness out of reverence for God”
(2 Corinthians 7:1)
After watching Roger Federer win his sixth Australian Open and twentieth Grand Slam titles I listened to some of the post-match comments. One of them struck me as very pertinent. It went something like this.
We enjoy watching Roger in action but we don’t see him during the off-peak times. It is then that the hard work takes place. He is busy preparing himself for the challenges to come – working on his fitness and his game, ironing out the kinks and practicing new skills. Away from the crowds it can be a lonely but a critical time, and without it he would not be the champion that he is. He depends upon himself, more than his small team, to maintain his commitment and dedication. We then enjoy the fruit of that time and effort.
It is very much the same for us as Christians. It is in the personal times, away from our everyday activities, that we prepare ourselves to be the people of God and the expression of His love. It is here that we allow Him to examine us and show us the things that are not good in our lives, the ones that need to be worked on and strengthened and the new areas that should be identified and developed. It is rather like the time that Jesus spent in the desert after His baptism – recognising the main challenges that He would face and identifying a proper and Scriptural response.
Paul writing to the church in Corinth is challenging them and us to look to our own characters and lives, to cleanse them of what should not be there and add in what should. It can take commitment and time to break away from old habits and weaknesses and to establish new skills and strengths. It can be done though because we have the Holy Spirit with us to guide and strengthen us – even when humanly speaking our spirits are weak and lazy.
As we work to purify ourselves from everything that contaminates body and spirit and to perfect holiness it is not merely for our own sakes but for the honour and glory of God who has called us, as His children, to ‘be holy for I am holy.’
“As obedient children, do not conform to the evil desires you had when you lived in ignorance. 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 1:14-16)
As we focus more on what we do to prepare ourselves we will find that we are better able to meet the challenges of our public lives and to bear the fruit that the Lord has begun to develop in us.
The Holy Spirit is your coach – ask Him for guidance and listen to His prompts
Lord help me to train with You for the challenges that I will face and for the opportunities that You will prepare for me, and cleanse and equip me for Your work and glory. Amen.