G. K. Chesterton once said that Christianity has not been tried and found wanting, but has been found difficult and not tried.
Many of us like an idealised, unreal version of Christianity where God is our friend and does everything we want. This ignores the balanced reality that God is the centre of the universe, not mankind (and definitely not me!), and is our judge as well as our friend. We forget at our peril that God is holy and demands holiness from His people.
2 Cor 7:1 has vital, life-giving advice for us about how we should live. Paul urges the Corinthians (and us) to ‘purify’ themselves ‘from everything that contaminats body and spirit, perfecting holiness out of reverence for God.’ The Message version urges us to ‘make a clean break with everything that defiles or distracts us.’
That inclues anything which would defile us physically – meaning we need to look at all that goes into our bodies (including alcohol, tobacco, drugs and food) and all we do with our bodies (including the need for exercise.) It includes everything that affects us spiritually (including fear, anxiety, bitterness, unforgiveness, envy, jealousy, resentment, pride, greed and hatred.) It means having a view of our bodies as temples of God’s Spirit and working on a daily detox that removes all that is not healthy for us so that we can be holy and whole for God.
If you don’t find this difficult, you’ve not understood what God requires as far as I can see! This alternative lifesttyle is impossible in our own strength. It can only be achieved when God’s Spirit lives within us and changes us from the inside out. Change is indeed possible (everything is possible with God!), but change requires our devoted attention and whole-hearted commitment. Are we willing to do this?