I am suspecting that a person’s spirituality or holiness or whatever you want to call it (if it is possible to measure it or speak in terms that could describe it) lies not in one sinner’s prayer or one decision to surrender once upon a time, but in our daily, even hourly, even moment by moment decisions to return. To return to the heart of God, and to return to the faithfulness of God that reaches to the skies.
The underlying reality to this critical task is the complete and perfect faithfulness and goodness of God, and the utter destitution and faithlessness of our own hearts – the constant drifting and shifting of the human heart that does so without itself knowing. There is no condemnation here, only freedom, freedom to be only as we truly are and because God’s faithfulness and goodness consumes everything if we will allow him.
I suspect that the great men and women of God never attain a certain level of holiness, but as they grow nearer to Christ they see only more of their neediness and poverty. Perhaps you don’t grow up in “levels of holiness” so to speak, but rather become increasingly dependent and needy as you see God more clearly for his perfect faithfulness and constancy. And in that light you see more and more clearly the human heart’s own faithlessness and destitution.
In this way, the kingdom does not reward fickleness or any microwave mentality, only steadfastness and perseverance. Neither does it reward the showy or the pretentious. Rather than the altar-call, though important as it is, the critical tasks are what is constantly done in our hearts, in the secret and in the decisions and motivations that no-one sees. The changes it brings are internal first and then the external follows very naturally, but here I am beginning to digress so I must stop.
And we shall see a generation, desperate and utterly dependent. In our weakness, his strength is made perfect. In our destitution, we are given the kingdom of heaven. Dressed in rags, he gives us white robes and riches. And his good and just kingdom shall come to bear itself upon a broken and desperate world through the hearts of those who are pure and beautiful, and the hands of those who are open and clean and empty.