Posts Tagged holiness

Ouch!!

Psalm 15: 1 – 5                    Passion Translation

Lord, who dares to dwell with you?
Who presumes the privilege of being close to you,
living next to you in your shining place of glory?
Who are those who daily dwell in the life of the Holy Spirit?

2 They are passionate and wholehearted,
always sincere and always speaking the truth—
for their hearts are trustworthy.

3 They refuse to slander or insult others;
they’ll never listen to gossip or rumors,
nor would they ever harm another with their words.

4 They will speak out passionately against evil and evil workers
while commending the faithful ones who follow after the truth.
They make firm commitments and follow through,
even at great cost.

5 They never crush others with exploitation or abuse
and they would never be bought with a bribe
against the innocent.
They will never be shaken; they will stand firm forever.

The NASB version begins, “O Lord, who may abide in Your tent?” Then David goes on to answer the question. I have another answer, “Not me.” Though I clearly fail this test, it inspires me. David certainly had a clear standard for what is required to live with the Holy One. I particularly dislike verse three for I found I have not yet bridled my tongue. How about you? Don’t many of us trip up over that one?

There is only one caveat I would make to David’s song. While I strongly agree with speaking out passionately against evil, I do think there is a New Testament augmentation to speaking out against evil workers. The reason I say this is because, in a sense, there is no longer a chosen class and a gentile class. All have the ability to be adopted into the family now and our task is to pray for those who persecute us. I find this to be the most challenging part of the passage because although we are idealists, we are also called to be compassionate messengers of the Good News. You might have to ponder this a bit. See where you land. Personally, I get uncomfortable pointing my finger at “evil workers” or “sinners” because I am so aware of how I trample the ideals articulated in this song.

My prayer is that we might all aspire to live this life and that we pray for each other as we reach for higher ground. Moreover, it is my desire that we learn how to lift people up to the beauty that is Jesus rather than wallow around in the mire like so many mud wrestlers. Lifting our eyes up to Jesus, may we each reach a little bit beyond yesterday.

Who are We?

1 Peter 1: 15 – 16

Like the Holy One who called you, be holy yourselves also in all your behavior; because it is written, “You shall be holy, for I am holy.”

This has been weighing on my mind quite a bit lately, so I am compelled to write about it. Few people want to hear holiness preaching and few pastors want to preach it. None the less, God calls us to be a holy people. What does that mean and how does it apply to everyday life? Is God calling us to give up everything that is fun in order to be His? The answer to that is, “No,” but He is calling us into a life with and in Him and that necessarily means a life which is distinguishable from the world, a life which has been transformed.

Romans 12: 2 tells us not to be conformed to this world but rather to be transformed. This is one of the most important lifestyle verses in the New Testament. The more you meditate on this scripture, the more application you find for it in your life. Jesus came to give you an abundant life (John 10: 10). However, that does not mean that he came to increase your appetite for the things of the world. He doesn’t mind you owning things. He is not depriving you of the good things in the earth. He is, however, trying to save our lives from the pitfalls.

Everything we are and everything we do should be offered up to Him. We should be living a life in which we put our desires on the altar so that He is in charge of them. Anything can become an idol if it occupies space in front of God. So, that may be television, games, books, social events, food, drink, sports, literally anything. If you are a coffee drinker and you have never put coffee on the altar and sacrificed it to God, you should. That does not mean He is going to take it away. It means that you choose to put coffee behind your passion for God.

We are called to be a peculiar people (1 Peter 2: 9 KJV). That is a strange statement. What it means is that we are different from people of the world. Ephesians 1: 4 reads, “He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we would be holy and blameless before Him.” That’s got to mean something. He has called us to be holy and blameless before Him. He provided the blood which cleanses us, but we have a role in this too. I don’t want to say it this way but . . . Jesus didn’t spill his blood so that we can run around like heathens. Do you agree? And yet, I find myself, my Christian friends and frankly, most Christians, looking no different than unsaved, unwashed, unredeemed Gentiles. I have to counsel myself that Jesus’ blood means more than that.

Can we get real for a moment? I have struggled with my weight, so, have I really and truly done as Romans 12: 1 commands, “Present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service of worship.” What about alcohol consumption? I have never been one to preach abstinence, but I wonder, sometimes, if a beer with friends has become more important than the Word of God. Is our pleasure coming from the things of the world or the things of God? Only the things of God will satisfy. Things of the world tend to be addictive by which I mean, we always want another. That is why we binge watch TV. It’s fun but even after a weekend of watching television, we still want more. On drink, one piece of candy is rarely enough. We will never get satisfied and the more we try, the further God recedes into the background of our lives.

This is not about recrimination or condemnation. “Therefore there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus,” (Romans 8: 1). It is a call, however, to examination. Are we individually and /or collectively a people whose priority is God? Do we attempt to live lives which are holy before the Lord? Or have we been seduced by the world such that there is no distinguishing characteristic between the children of God and the children of the world? Have we put the pleasures and enjoyment of this world before our service to God? These are the questions we should be asking ourselves and praying about. I am convinced that the church needs a wake-up call but that will only come about as we join in praying for the body of believers we call Christians. Be united in holiness before the Lord. Worship Him with all you do. He is worthy.