We have been given the challenge this week of becoming holy. Though it may seem an impossible task, it is not. In the power and grace of God, and the working of His Holy Spirit, all things are possible in Him. So, let us pause and ask the Lord for His cleansing and purifying of our life that we may be remade in the image of Christ. And let us take a moment for self-examination of our lives in light of the virtues we have studied this week.
In this troubling year past have we been “giving thanks always and for everything” as Paul commanded the Church at Ephesus (5:20)? Of have we looked around and wondered why others are not having the difficulties that we are having and taken offense? When we pray, are we making our petitions and supplications to the Lord with thanksgiving or with grumbles about the difficulty of our circumstances? The process of becoming holy is an on-going work: God at work in us to purify us and make us holy in the image of Christ. Have we cooperated with Him?
In the self-examination in St. Augustine’s Prayer Book, we are asked if we are dissatisfied with our place in God’s order of creation. Are we willing to accept our place in the wall of the Temple? Or do we look jealously at the gifts and talents of others? Are we loving our neighbor as Jesus loved us? Jesus was willing to die for us when we were yet sinners (Romans 5:8). Can we not be bothered to make simple sacrifices for those unlovable ones around us? Are we quick to defend ourselves when we are wronged, or are we willing to accept the challenge stated by St. Paul in Colossians 3:13? “… as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive.” Jesus was willing to die to forgive us. Can we not die to self and ask for the grace of God to forgive another for the wrongs done to us?
Are we holding on to a false image of the Gospel and of Christ, or are we allowing the Holy Spirit to bring His fire and purify us, to burn away the things that do not belong in His Temple? Are we letting the Bridegroom clothe us, the Bride of Christ,“with fine linen, bright and pure”?
Having examined our lives in the light of these virtues, let us confess our sins and shortcomings and ask God for the grace to transform us into the image of His Son.
Heavenly Father, your Word commands us to, “be holy as You are holy”: we pray, therefore, that You would send your Holy Spirit into our lives to carry out a life-transforming work in each member of your Body. May we, by your grace, say as Paul did, “my old self has died and been crucified with Christ, and it is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me.” We ask that You would continue to root out anything that is counter to what You desire for your Church, and we pray that You would increasingly transform us into the image and likeness of the Christ. Give us we pray, the desire and grace to become a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable unto You, to Your praise and glory. This we ask in Jesus’ name. Amen.