Our outward behavior, regardless of how good it is, does not bring us holiness. Apart from the Spirit of Christ within us, we have no capacity for holiness on our own because God's holiness flows into us through the Spirit of Christ. Holiness from God facilitates our good outward behavior. This implies that our primary objective is to open ourselves up to be partakers of God's holiness (see Hebrews 12:10-15). Holiness comes from trusting in God (Psalms 86:2). Our trust in Jesus Christ brings us His Spirit; and we cannot bypass trusting in the Son in order to receive God's holiness because it flows into us through the Spirit of His Son.
God says to "Be ye holy; for I am holy" (1Peter 1:16). Holiness from God is the fruit of the Spirit, which provides us with the peace and the strength to live holy lives (Galatians 5:22-23). We maximize the fruit of the Spirit in our lives by yielding to the Spirit. Without this, our own efforts to be holy will not be enough because the law of sin, which is our human weakness, will thwart our own efforts (Romans 7:14 thru 8:2). This is why there is so little victory in people's lives. We rely excessively on our guilt and good intentions to keep us in line; but they do not automatically move us towards the one who is able to give us victory because we continue to rely on our own strength and will power. God remains distant because our attention is more on what we do or don't do, instead of our moving toward a dependence on Him for the grace to live holy lives.
Grace comes from humility toward God. I think that it is best defined in 1Peter 5:5-7 which says: "Yea, all of you be subject one to another, and be clothed with humility: for God resisteth the proud, and giveth grace to the humble. Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, that he may exalt you in due time: Casting all your care upon him; for he careth for you".
Humility towards God is uniquely suited for the Biblical concept of God. He requires it. Our unconditional trust is in Him and not in ourselves. The thrust of the mind goes outward instead of inward. We rest upon Him. This opens up to His rest. Other spiritual practices keep us earthbound and without the peace of God even though they may employ Biblical imagery. They are based on a pantheistic view of God which sees Him as part of His creation; therefore, there is no outward resting upon Him because we ourselves are considered to be part of God. This view of god blocks us from accessing salvation and grace from the Biblical God.
God wants us to be anxious for nothing by casting all of our care on Him. This gave me the peace and strength from God that I needed in my personal life (see Proverbs 3:5, 1Peter 5:5-7, Philippians 4:6-7, and Isaiah 26:3-4).
by Peter Aiello
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