As we journey through the 1st Epistle of Peter together at Perryville Second Baptist, it is evident to me that one of the themes of the letter is that Believers are to be holy. As a Minister of the gospel, I have alway sought to try and carefully balance the exhortation to pursue holiness while understanding that we won't attain perfection in this life.
Recently, thanks to a free gift from Ligonier, I acquired John Calvin's A Little Book on the Christian Life. I think what Calvin writes about this in the first chapter is superb. I hope you are encouraged and challenged:
"I'm not saying that the conduct of a Christian will breathe nothing but pure gospel, although this should be desired and pursued. I'm not, in other words talking about gospel perfection, as if I were unwilling to acknowledge or recognize a man or a woman as a Christian who has not obtained perfection. If that were the case, everyone would be excluded from the church, since we do not find any in it who are close to being perfect. Indeed we find many in the church who have progressed little toward perfection, but who, nevertheless, it would be unjust to reject as Christians.
What I am saying is this: Let us fix our eyes on the goal and sole object of our pursuit. Let that goal, toward which we must strive and contend, be established from the beginning. After all, it's not right to barter with God regarding what we will and won't undertake form those things He has prescribed for us in His Word...
Of course, none of us is capable of running swiftly on the right course while we remain in the earthly confinement of our bodies. Indeed, most of us are so oppressed with weakness that we make little progress - staggering, limping, and crawling on the ground. But let us move forward according to the measure of our resources and pursue the path we have begun to walk. None of us will move forward with so little success that we will not make some daily progress in the way.
Therefore let us keep trying so that we might continually make some gains in the way of the Lord, and neither let us despair over how small our success are. For however much our successes fall short of our desire, our efforts aren't in vain when we are farther along today than yesterday.
So let us fix our eyes on the goal with sincereity and simplicity, aspiring to that end - neither foolishly congratulating ourselves, nor exusing our evil deeds. Let us press on with continual striving toward that goal so that we might surpass ourselves - until we have finally arrived at perfection itself. This, indeed, is what we follow after and pursue all our lives, but we will only possess it when we have escaped the weakkness of the flesh and have been received into His perefect fellowship." (Emphases mine)
Ah! How refreshing! Keep pressing, beloved. Keep fighting.
Keep moving forward.
Though you do not now see Him, you love Him. Press on. One day you will see Him and you will not regret striving for holiness. To Christ be the glory.