Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Holiness is What I Long For

             Do you ever wonder about holiness? We are called to it as believers. We are commanded to be holy for our God is holy. But what exactly is holiness? What exactly does it mean to be holy? Lately, I have been getting the urgings from the Lord to go deeper; to leave behind once again all that is holding me down and to choose to follow Him down this path of holiness. I sometimes see my life as a Christian as an ocean. When I gave my life to Jesus, I was standing on the beach, only getting my feet wet. But as I grew in my relationship with Him, I would go out into the ocean, walking with Him, going deeper and deeper into the crashing waves. As I walk, I sometimes I get knocked down by these waves, but I get back up again with His grace and He once again takes me by the hand and we go deeper together. That is the urging that I have been experiencing in my heart- He has my hand and wants to take me under into the depths of holiness.
                The word holy means to be set apart; it means to be exclusively His. I once heard a pastor say that holiness was received, it was not achieved. And I agree with this statement. The only way we can be truly holy is through the Holy Spirit. It is He who works in us and through us to bring us to that point where we become holy vessels unto the Lord. Holiness can also be viewed as sanctification. But is there more to holiness and living a life of holiness than just receiving it? This was a question I asked the Lord this morning, and He has shown me that a life of holiness is a choice we make.
               
           “but as He who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct, because it is written; ‘Be holy, for I am holy.’” 1 Peter 1:15-16
           “Consecrate yourselves therefore, and be holy, for I am the Lord your God.” Leviticus 20:7
                The bible clearly shows us that we are to live a life of holiness. We are to live a life separated to God, separated from the world, exclusively His. We, as His children are to be holy in all our conduct, because He has chosen us for the purpose of holiness. “And you shall be holy to Me, for I the Lord am holy, and have separated you from the peoples, that you should be Mine.” (Leviticus 20:26) But holiness is a choice that we make as well. We can choose to live a life of holiness, or we can choose to live a life of uncleanness. He chose us to live this life of holiness, now; it is up to us to choose Him.
                Holiness is not something that we are handed on a silver platter. We must choose to let go of the things that hold us back, that hold us down. These things are sin, they are the pride in our hearts, and the things we look at, think on and take part in. Paul writes to us and tells us that we are to walk as children of the light; that we are to let go of the things of the world and choose Christ. “Let there be no sexual immorality, impurity, or greed among you. Such sins have no place among God’s people; obscene stories, foolish talk, and course jokes- these are not for you. Instead, let there be thankfulness to God…So be careful how you live. Don’t live like fools, but like those who are wise.” (Ephesians 5:3-4, 15, NLT)

                How we live our lives is a choice. What we watch, what we say, what we think and what we do are choices that we make every day. We choose to live holy, or we choose to follow after the things of this world. God calls us to be children who are set apart, exclusively His, yet I find that I put Him to the side and choose to do what I want instead of choosing what He desires. Holiness is not something that we receive the moment we give our lives to Jesus Christ. Holiness is a process, and it only begins when we choose to follow after it, and to seek it with our whole hearts. Holiness is a choice we make. He chose us for holiness, and we must choose to follow Him into this holiness.
                “For God did not call us to uncleanness, but in holiness.” (1 Thessalonians 4:7) Every choice I make in my daily life is either a choice to live in holiness or a choice to live in uncleanness. Now, I am not saying that we won’t sin, because none of us are that holy! Only Jesus was able to live a perfectly spotless, holy life. But, we can choose to turn our eyes away from the worthless things of this world (Psalm 119:37) and turn our eyes upon Jesus. We can choose to do what God desires in our daily lives, or we can choose to live our Christian life the way we desire. Holiness is a choice we make. He chose us for holiness; we must choose to follow Him into that holiness.
                Peter exhorts us to this life of holiness as well in his epistle. “Therefore, since all these things will be dissolved, what manner of persons ought you to be in holy conduct and godliness,” (2 Peter 3:11) All the things we put our eyes and hearts upon in this world will be dissolved, they will pass away, and since we know this, what kind of people should we be? Should we not choose to live in holiness, turning off the television when what we are watching is not godly? Should we not choose to walk away from those who say lewd words, and tell jokes that we know are not godly? Should we not choose to live a holy life? Should we not choose to live as the Lord has called us to live? Daily He speaks to us, and says,  “Be holy, for I am holy.”
               We were called to be a separate people, a people that through the way we live our lives the world around us would see Jesus. The only way they can see that is if we choose to live holy lives. I know for me, personally, there are areas in my life that are not godly that I must choose to lay down, if I want a life of holiness. I want to go deeper. I want to be so deep that it is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me and through me. (Galatians 2:20) I want to live a life of holiness. What about you? Will you choose holiness today? Will you choose to walk away from those who curse and say unholy things? Will you choose to turn off the radio or television if they become ungodly? What will you choose?
                Holiness is not achieved; it is worked in us and through us as a process of our sanctification. Holiness means we choose to turn our eyes away from worthless things, we choose to live as God desires us to live, and we choose to seek Him and turn off the world. I pray today, for myself and for all who read these words that we would become a people who choose holiness. I pray that we would see the calling of God to live holy lives and that we would turn our eyes and our hearts from worthless things and seek our Holy God alone. Holiness is a choice, I pray today that we would all choose holiness through Jesus Christ our Lord, and that through the power of the Holy Spirit, we would go deeper into a life of holiness. To Him alone be the glory, honor and praise, forever and ever. Amen and Amen.