What approach do you take to living a holy righteous life? Some people emphasis how they approach God. Others stress how they approach Sin and the Devil. Others still talk about how they approach each other to become holy and righteous. In any case, it is important that we are approaching all of these in the proper way. If we try to approach the Devil like we approach God we will be destroyed. If we try to approach God like we approach what is evil, then we will not be able to draw near to Him. If we approach believers like we approach God or the Devil, we will either wind up empty or in a fight. God has given us the right approach to the Christian life and by following it we can grow in holiness and righteousness.
When we approach God we are to come before Him in brokenness and humility. An example of this is the tax collector from Luke 18:13-14, "But the tax collector stood at a distance. He would not even look up to heaven, but beat his breast and said, 'God, have mercy on me, a sinner.' I tell you that this man, rather than the other, went home justified before God. For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted." Also, in James 4:10 we read, "Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will lift you up." If we want to have a powerful walk with God, we must approach Him in humility. Nevertheless, we should not confuse humility with timidity. Timidity does not believe that God is willing to help us, but humility is confident that God is able and willing to supply what we lack. Therefore Hebrews 4:16 gives us the instruction to, "approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need."
Approaching Sin and the Devil is completely different from approaching God. If we approach what is evil with humility and brokenness, we will get trampled. In Ephesians 6, Paul was very clear about how we should take our stand to approach the Devil in the evil day. "Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on the full armor of God so that you can take your stand against the devil's schemes. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand." When we approach the Devil, we are to come at him as an equipped warrior ready to go to battle. In Colossians 3:5, Paul describes our interaction with Sin as, "putting it to death." Approaching Sin and the Devil must be done with hostility and violence.
Though we need to approach sin in our own lives with hostility and violence, we are not supposed to approach sin in other people the same way. Paul teaches us that if someone is caught in a sin, those who are spiritual should restore him gently (Galatians 6:1, 2 Timothy 2:25). It is usually painful when someone tries to restore another person and if the restorer is violently inflicting pain, most people will assume the restorer is trying harm them. Nevertheless, when the restorer gently inflicts pain on someone, it is much easier for everyone to recognize that the restorer doesn't have evil intent. This is why Timothy was given this approach to ministering to others: "Preach the Word; be prepared in season and out of season; correct, rebuke and encourage/comfort--with all long suffering/patience and instruction" (2 Timothy 4:2). When people are rebuked they usually also need encouragement, comfort, and to be patiently instructed about how do things properly. Overall our approach to one another ought to be characterized as lowly, gentle, patient, and ready to bear with one another in love as we strive for a united peace in the Holy Spirit (Ephesians 4:2-3).
Our approach to the Christian life is an essential part of becoming holy and righteous. If you find yourself depressed because of your spiritual condition or in a hostile relationship with others then examine how you got there. Most likely you will find that you have taken the wrong approach...