When I was a little girl, I loved to play dress-up. I would put on my mom’s jewelry, makeup, high heeled shoes, and feathered hat, and pretend that I was married to the boy next door. He was dressed up, too, in his dad’s old shirt and a floppy rain hat. I loved to imitate my mother.
But no matter how many dangling necklaces I wore, I was still just a little girl. I could imitate being a wife, but I was not a wife myself. And no amount of lipstick would change that.
Fifteen years later I walked down the aisle and said, “I do.” No longer a little girl, I was now a bride. I didn’t have on any long necklaces, feather hats, or bright red lipstick that day, but it didn’t matter. The minister said, “What God has joined, let no man put asunder”. Something changed during that brief ceremony. I was now a wife.
We cannot make ourselves holy merely through imitation. That’s why I love the chorus, “Create in Me a Clean Heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me.” It reminds me that is God who must do the work of transforming my sin-sick heart. I can’t do it through my own striving. Just as I didn’t become a wife simply by imitating one, neither can I become holy merely by imitation. It is through union with Christ that we are made holy. This is not mere imitation….it is transformation.
Psalm 24:3-4 asks ”Who may ascend the hill of the Lord? Who may stand in His holy place? He who has clean hands and a pure heart”. We might be able to gain some semblance of outward conformity to God’s law, but none of us have clean hands or a pure heart! Only Jesus can ascend the hill of the Lord! He is the only One who was righteous, not only outwardly but also inwardly. Yet by virtue of our union with Him, God now sees us as a spotless bride, radiant with holiness.
The flesh is still with us, and we do still sin. But God has cleansed our hearts from the stain of that sin. When we finally stand before Him on our heavenly wedding day, our sanctification will be complete and sin will be eradicated from our hearts for eternity.
For more keys to growing in holiness, listen to my podcast Desperate for Holiness. You can stream it from the computer by clicking the play button, or download it to Mp3 by clicking Visit My Call.