We all want to be happy and so we make our choices based on what we believe to be leading us and giving us the best that we can have. In our society, life-coaches attempt to help bring people’s views and intentions into the long term. The reason that you go through the pain of working-out several times a week is for the fitness goal at the end. The reason that you take the lower position is so that in the long run you have the necessary experience for the position that you really want. In other words, while it may seem there are times that we don’t choose what brings us the most happiness, we do it for what we believe will bring the greater happiness in the end.
The question that William Law brings to the forefront in chapter two of A Serious Call to a Devout and Holy Life is what do Christians view as their “best and happiest” choice in life. Or as he asks, “Why [does] the generality of Christians fall so short of the holiness and devotion of Christianity?” He posits a Christian who swears. Today, we may think of this as a minor sin. Why would Law bring it into show how far we are from our pursuit of holiness? While he doesn’t use this text, but how and what our mouth speaks about shows what is in our heart (Luke 6:45). If we are careless with our words our hearts will be careless toward other sins.
One who desires to pursue holiness will not look at others or even other Christians, but will “look into the Scriptures, and make every doctrine, parable, precept, or instruction, that relates to rich men, a law to himself in the use of his estate.” We need to not ask what the best practice is in such and such a case but look to the Bible to see what God has commanded.
Someone at this point may accuse Law of simply having people “make themselves better” or of legalism. He, however, ends the chapter by noting that Divine Grace is necessary for right living, but the believer must act in such a way that is in line with the grace given by God (cf. see Ephesians and the commands to “walk”). Holy living then is a discipline and takes energy and effort toward putting off and putting on by the grace of God. But if we have no desire for holiness then it will be evident in how we conduct our lives; from the way we use our mouths to the way we spend our time and money.
This leads to some questions that will be difficult to answer, but necessary if our desire is to love God and be holy as He is holy.
What would you say is your best and happiest pursuit in life?
Is holiness before God a drudgery or a joy to you? How can you tell?
What ways could you use to evaluate if you were living a holy life?
What ways could you develop and grow your desire for holiness?
Why is our mouth a good indicator of our seriousness toward holiness?
Buy the Book: