This Could Change the Way You Live
The other night I was worshiping God and He revealed to me that striving is not about a work that we do for Him, rather, it’s about the purity of one’s heart and the embodiment of our role as God’s chosen priesthood.
What is striving? Striving means to make great efforts to try to obtain or achieve something; It can also be to fight vigorously, or to struggle. I felt so strongly that God wants to offer you freedom from striving today. How do we have a pure heart, how do we stop striving, and what does being a priest and a child of God look like?
First Peter 2:9-10 says, “But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession, that you may declare the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His wonderful light. Once you were not a people, but now you are the people of God; once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy.”
Part of being a priest of God looks like presenting God as Holy to others, because He is holy. It’s not about striving to please Him, being good enough, or doing well enough for Him. Really what it’s about is purity of heart.
It’s not about trying to become righteous or become holy because you already are those things, and to try at all means that you’ve forgotten about the blood of Jesus’ sacrifice when He died on the cross and rose from death three days later. The blood of Jesus sanctified you, purified you, and it made you holy and righteous.
Romans 3:22-24 tells us this, “This righteousness is given through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe. There is no difference between Jew and Gentile, for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and all are justified freely (you’re made righteous as a gift) by His grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus.” If we continue to verse 26, it tells us that the Father presented Jesus as a sacrifice of atonement (meaning that our sins would be forgiven) so that He could demonstrate His righteousness to be just and to justify those who have faith in Jesus.
In verse 27 it says, “Where, then, is boasting? It is excluded. Because of what law? The law that requires works? No, because of the law that requires faith.” He tells you right here that it’s not about your works, it’s about your faith. You need works because faith without works is dead (according to James 2:17), but not the kind of work that is guided by trying to earn something from God. Did you know that righteousness could also mean ‘purity of heart?’
In my personal understanding, I believe that purity and simplicity are inseparable. Therefore, I don’t believe that purity can coexist with striving. This viewpoint aligns with the teaching of speaker, Eric Gilmour, who emphasizes that the absence of simplicity means additional things that don’t belong there, such as striving.
Striving is inherently religious because at that point, you’re no longer looking at God as holy, merciful, and gracious. Instead, you are leading down a path of crafting your own subjective version of who God is.
The reason I say that it’s all about purity is because it is one of the only ways to see Him, and see Him for who He is. Matthew 5:8 says, “Blessed are those who are pure in heart, for they will see God.” God also brought Psalm 24 to my mind, which says that the earth is the Lord’s and everything in it. Everyone that dwells in it, everything that fills it, is His. You are His. Psalms 24:3 says, “Who shall ascend the hill of the Lord? And who shall stand in His holy place?” The answer comes right after saying, “He who has clean hands and a pure heart.” Striving blocks the ability to see Jesus.
God doesn’t want more religion. He doesn’t want more ashamed workers who fail His testing (2 Timothy 2:15). I truly believe He wants more lovers. Don’t test yourself with tests that God is not giving you.
The simplicity of God’s love is to sit in His presence, with the knowledge that you didn’t do anything to earn His presence and the right to dwell in it. And with the knowledge that you don’t have to do anything to remain in it. These things, like holiness, righteousness, the ability to dwell in His presence, forgiveness of your sins, and His unconditional love, are free gifts from Him that you did nothing to earn. Again, no one can boast about it. His grace is a gift; it’s no longer a gift from God if you had to earn it. That would be called a job. When you start living from a place of pursuit for more of Him, rather than working, and earning, is when you can start to enjoy Him.
I don’t know for sure if musician Jason Upton said this quote or not but either way it’s amazing, it’s that “I spent so much time looking for His presence that I forgot to sit in it.” Sometimes we get so caught up in working for Him that we forget to do it all with Him. If this is the case, then what’s the point?
In John 15:5 Jesus said, “I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from Me you can do nothing.” He didn’t say you can’t do anything. You can worship without Him, write books about Him without Him, start a business without Him, and you can even start ministry without Him.
Your works don’t give you the right to stand in His holy place, it’s a pure heart. Until you stop thinking that you have to earn God’s affection or that you have to prove yourself to Him, you’ll never lead a life of truly knowing and feeling His love. Joy will be difficult to maintain and you'll lead an unsatisfied life that’s tiring.
Stay tuned next week for part two of this blog. Feel free to watch the video below for the video version of this blog! I hope this blessed you today in some way!