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Lord, I have a problem. I've heard my friends at church talking about "the inner life" and "holiness." The more I hear, the more uneasy I get. It seems to me that this business of pursuing holiness takes a lot of time and thought. You know how busy I am. Haven't you and I been getting along just fine? There was a lot to learn when I gave my life to You. Is there still more that I need to learn? I'm just not sure that I have time. Can we do this when I retire?

Time spent with Me is an adventure in contentment. This isn't so much a matter of time. Actually, I'm asking for your heart.

My heart? What does "heart" have to do with being holy?

When I say "heart" I mean your inner person, your secret sanctuary.

You mean where I have all my plans and my ambitions filed for quick reference? I understand that when I pull one of my project files, and start working on it, I should ask You to help me with it. Are you saying that I should make you the project manager not just my Helper?

That's right. I'm certainly available to be your Helper, but things will go a lot better if I'm in charge.

That sounds like a really big change. You want me to put aside my own priorities and my own ways, and adopt Your priorities and Your ways? Haven't I been devoting enough time to Your cause already? How am I going to learn this holiness way of thinking?

Uh-oh. You said "time" again. Time is not the point. I want you to follow My ways with all your heart and mind and soul and strength. I'll teach you. Remember what Isaiah wrote:

"The Lord will guide you continually, and satisfy your needs in parched places, and make your bones strong; and you shall be like a watered garden" (Isa. 58:11).

Lord, you'll have to help me understand what you mean.

Have you ever sung, "Peace, Perfect Peace"? There's a lot of truth in the second stanza.

"Peace, perfect peace, by thronging duties pressed?

To do the will of Jesus: this is rest." (1)

Well, I'm certainly interested in rest. I thought doing Your will all the time would make me even busier.

Not so. Remember how concerned you were about returning a tithe to Me? Remember how you discovered that obeying My command to tithe gave your 90% more purchasing power? Allowing Me to direct your ways is just good time management. I invite all who have a busy life to come to Me, and I will give them rest I say, Take my yoke upon you and learn from me. I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your soul. My yoke is easy and My burden is light.

Is holiness a burden? Is it something like a backpack? I've heard them say that pursuing holiness is like following a path upward to new heights. Is holiness like mountain climbing? One time I went on a mountain hike, and it didn't turn out very well for me. My backpack was heavy. The path was rocky. There were snakes. And the higher I climbed, the more winded I got. I thought I would never make it back to the trail head.

I'm your trail guide. You will lack nothing. We'll begin our journey together in the valley. I'll lead you beside still waters, and when you're tired, you'll be able to rest on the green grass. You will be refreshed. This will be the right way for you at first. As you invite Me to stay in your heart, you'll become stronger. We'll do all the climbing together. I'll always be with you.

So, I probably won't need a backpack while we're in the green pastures and beside the still waters. But then, when we start up the trail that my friends call "Surrender," will I find out that You will have more and more for me to take along? Will it be like carrying a 60-pound backpack?

Your backpack may become quite heavy at times. We'll have challenges on the trail for sure. But if your backpack becomes too heavy, remember, you can always cast your burden on me. I will never allow you to be overwhelmed. If you accept my training, I will not allow any challenge to face you that you cannot handle.

I've heard that when you're trekking in the mountains or the wilderness, it's absolutely essential to obey the trail guide.

Yes. Definitely. You must obey or you'll fall or lose your way. It will sometimes be tough going. All discipline for the moment seems not to be joyful, but sorrowful, yet to those who have been trained by it, afterwards it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness. When we persevere to the end, you and I will stand in the presence of the Father with great joy. Come, let's begin.