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  • Writer's pictureW. Austin Gardner

Holiness not happiness

Happiness, not holiness, is the chief pursuit of most people today, including many professed Christians. They want Jesus to solve their problems and carry their burdens, but they don’t want Him to control their lives and change their character. It doesn’t disturb them that eight times in the Bible, God said to His people, “Be holy, for I am holy,”1 and He means it.

“He that sees the beauty of holiness, or true moral good,” wrote Jonathan Edwards, “sees the greatest and most important thing in the world.”

Have you ever thought of personal holiness—likeness to Jesus Christ—as the most important thing in the world?

In God’s kingdom, holiness isn’t a luxury; it’s a necessity. “Follow peace with all men, and holiness, without which no man shall see the Lord” (Heb. 12:14). Yes, God wants His children to be happy, but true happiness begins with holiness. “Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness; for they shall be filled” (Matt. 5:6). “If I had my choice of all the blessings I can conceive of,” said Charles Spurgeon, “I would choose perfect conformity to the Lord Jesus, or, in one word, holiness.” Would you make the same choice?

Warren W. Wiersbe, Be Holy, “Be” Commentary Series (Wheaton, IL: Victor Books, 1996), 9–10.

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