Cross Words: A personal plea for holiness

By Isaiah Pauley

I would be concerned if, when getting out of bed each morning, I had no thought of communing with God. If the demands of my day kept me from He who alone provides my every breath (Acts 17:25). If the notifications on my smartphone spoke louder than the cries of my desperate soul. If the urge of extra sleep kept me from spending time with the One who has awakened my soul from death to life (Eph. 2:5).

I would be concerned if, when faced with the temptation to sin, I purposefully suppressed the voice of God. If the seriousness and danger of my sin became so nonexistent in my polluted mind that I became fully convinced of calling right what God has clearly called wrong. If the indifference to holiness caused me to feel no remorse over my sin, and I only felt numb to that which kills a man (Rom. 6:23).

I would be concerned if, when talking with another person, I thought more of what that person thinks of me than what that person thinks of God. If I held the Spirit of the living God inside myself (Rom. 8:11) while people living in sin had no idea of what lived within me. If the thought of “fitting-in” kept me from sharing what can get them in Heaven. If the daily burden of my conversation rested not on the urgency of the gospel and focused instead on my own insecurities and musings.

I would be concerned if, when choosing how to spend my leisure time, I never felt the need to pray and engage my soul in the Word. If I chose to scroll mindlessly through Facebook while my aching soul sunk ever deeper into darkness. If the thrill of Netflix brought me more excitement than a mere moment with my Creator. If my relationship with God became something I squeezed into my busy day rather than allowing it to permeate my every decision. If keeping up on the news meant laying aside my Bible.

I would be concerned if, when “going” to church on Sunday, I kept a closer eye on the clock than the Word. If my button-up shirt and tie blinded me to the filthiness of my sin-stained heart. If I cared more about who was preaching than what that preaching was doing to my soul. If I sought to critique every imperfection rather than allow the Spirit to convict me of my every sin. If my growling stomach became more important to me than my starving soul.

I would be concerned if, when laying my head down to sleep at night, my last thought was what I did for God that day rather than what He has done for me. If I can stay awake past midnight to talk with a lover but can’t spend a moment in prayer before falling asleep. If I can take one last scroll through Instagram and neglect to express any gratitude to He who has rescued me from the domain of darkness and placed me within His marvelous light (1 Pet. 2:9).

Truth is, I am concerned.

I think we should all be concerned. For we have substituted the all-satisfying gospel of Christ for our own wants and pleasures. Have we forgotten the weight, the magnitude, of what was accomplished for us on that cross?

Let this be a personal plea for holiness. A call to repentance. An awakening of our beaten down, weary, and desperate souls.

Oh, Father. You call me to be holy as You are holy (1 Pet. 1:15-16). You call me to die to myself and follow after You (Matt. 16:24). I am sorry for making less of Christ in my daily life rather than making Him the aim of my affections. Forgive me. Make me desperate for You. And restore to me the joy of my salvation (Ps. 51:12).

“Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded. Be wretched and mourn and weep. Let your laughter be turned to mourning and your joy to gloom. Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will exalt you” (James 4:8-10 ESV).

There is no sinner too far gone. No sin too much to forgive. His grace is enough for me and for you. Let us come boldly before the throne of our gracious God and receive mercy in our time of need (Heb. 4:16).

By Isaiah Pauley

Isaiah Pauley is the Minister of Worship for Faith Baptist Church in Mason, W.Va. Find more at

Isaiah Pauley is the Minister of Worship for Faith Baptist Church in Mason, W.Va. Find more at