Holiness is the call of those who claim to know God.
Holiness is the work of the cross done first in our own lives.
Holiness is our personal proving ground before we head out with the gospel to others.
Before Christ we were enslaved to our flesh. Our hungers were focussed on our physical body and our heart sins. We lied, we cheated, we were licentious and gluttons.
It was easy to hate. It felt good to slander. We brought others low so we could feel big. We were consumed with how we could bring pleasure to ourselves.
Then we came to know Christ.
The Spirit of the Living God moved into our own hearts and minds and we began to change. Even our bodies began to submit to holiness and our living God.
“So flee youthful passions and pursue righteousness, faith, love, and peace, along with those who call on the Lord from a pure heart.” 2 Timothy 2:22
No longer could we hate. To slander felt bad. We now knew that lying was wrong. And focussing on our own pleasure came with sorrow.
Holiness is the mark of the believer. It is an ability to live above the sins by which we once survived.
“So put away all malice and all deceit and hypocrisy and envy and all slander.” 1 Peter 2:1
Holiness is given us by God. Holiness is received by us. Holiness is maintained and grown through an honest relationship between us and God.
Personally and intimately we bring our flesh thoughts and appetites to God. We acknowledge them before him. We do not hide our sin from God, rather we bring it out into the open.
God is big enough for this.
“There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.” Romans 8:1
And as we bring sin out into the light it loses its hold on us. Sin withers in the light of Christ and we find new ability unto holiness.
“We know that everyone who has been born of God does not keep on sinning, but he who was born of God protects him, and the evil one does not touch him.” 1 John 5:18
It is a matter of what we are feeding. Feed sin and our flesh and it will grow. Feed holiness and God’s heart in us and that will grow.
“You cannot drink the cup of the Lord and the cup of demons. You cannot partake of the table of the Lord and the table of demons.” 1 Corinthians 10:21
Which do you want to be growing?
It is not enough to just remove sin from our lives and habits, we must replace sin with something; we replace it with holiness.
But this is not easy. And in the shift from sin to holiness we come across our own inability and resulting sorrow. We find we are disgusted with ourselves. Who we want to be in the Lord is confounded by what our flesh wants in this world.
But this too we simply bring before God. We bring our flesh to the cross, relinquishing our desire to self-gratify, and we call upon the name of the Lord for the ability and the courage to follow hard after God.
“Blessed is the man against whom the Lord counts no iniquity, and in whose spirit there is no deceit.” Psalm 32:2
In the beginning this is hard. Everything in us cries ‘no’, but as we commit unto God’s way, as we stand against our own licentiousness and greed these things begin to die and God in us begins to grow.
And over time it gets easier and easier. The choices you and I make every day are the small things that add up to big things. Living holy is the biggest way to be living.
Holiness requires restraint. Choosing to live unto God has us growing our strength unto right living.
But we must never forget that the power for this comes from God and from the indwelling of the Holy Spirit and it is God we must choose and rely on each and every day.
And in Him we can do it – we can grow in holiness.
“But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus his Son cleanses us from all sin.” 1 John 1:7
Holiness requires a bigger picture than just today. Our flesh cries out to be satisfied today, but unto holiness and we put aside the urgency of today in service to eternity.
Holiness doesn’t live for now, it lives for eternity.
Holiness doesn’t live for ourselves, it lives for others.
Holiness is our investment in the Kingdom of God. Holiness is our agreement with the Kingdom of God.
“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law. And those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. If we live by the Spirit, let us also walk by the Spirit.” Galatians 5:22-25
It is a manner of righteousness that honors God, that praises him through the choices we make, that proves him Lord in our lives.
And the farther we move into leadership and ministry the holier we must be. For where there is any ‘flesh’ in our manner of being, this is what the enemy can grab hold of.
Living in The Spirit and there is nothing for the enemy to grab. In the flesh we are destined to attack and confounding.
May we simply choose holiness today. In this we reveal our love for the Lord.
“He has told you, O man, what is good; and what does the Lord require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God?” Micah 6:8
“God we simply come before you today confessing to this difficulty unto holiness. Sometimes we are worn down by the constant struggle. Sometimes we feel stuck in our own flesh.
But today we acknowledge that you are bigger than our flesh. We agree and say ‘yes’ and ‘amen’ to your holiness through our beings.
We invite you to make us a holy people. We bring our flesh to the cross of Christ and we declare it this day crucified with Christ. In the power and the name of our Lord Jesus Christ we say ‘no more!’ to sin and its hold over us. We say ‘Yes!’ to purity and truthfulness, integrity and honor.
May we honor you with our bodies, with our thoughts and with our choices. May we honor others as we honor you.
Thank-you Jesus for making a way for us. Without your death, burial and resurrection we would not have a way through our sin and suffering, but you have made a way, you are The Way, and we give you honor today and we claim the blood covering of our Lord Jesus Christ over us today.
With all glory and honor to you God. Amen”