Tag Archive: Holiness


I was bitter.

I find this happening a little too often.  Bitterness is a disease, but even more.  It’s like a cancer that spreads.  When you let it in, it tries to grow and grow.  It will consume you if you don’t cut it off.  I’ve seen it in too many others around me.  Yick.

That’s not my post for today, I just started bitter.  Some was directed at my wife (sorry honey).  You know how we all have expectations.  Well, my expectations weren’t being met.  As part of this, I was wondering why I would continue to do all the things I do.  You see, the Lord had taught me to love her and sacrifice for her especially in the times I don’t think she would deserve it.  That’s a different story for another day.  So here I am wondering why I keep doing that, and the Lord suddenly gave me 1 Peter 4:8

Above all, keep fervent in your love for one another, because love covers a multitude of sins.

I had always looked at this verse like that of God’s love.  He loves us so much it can cover over our sins.  Basically grace.  But that’s not what it’s tell me.  It’s telling me to love because that covers sin.  In the moment, the meaning was clear to me.  My actions of love for my wife would cover over results of my sins and keep the consequences of those.  You see, I have my own problems as well.  I wonder sometimes ( as I think we all should ) how our marriage goes so well when the two of us ( especially me ) have so many issues.

What I learned is that my love for here and the actions I take ( especially when I don’t feel it ), covers over many of my own shortcomings and has kept out marriage in the shape it is in.

So what is this telling me going forward.  It’s telling me just how important love is.  I am not perfect and don’t expect to be anytime soon ( I have hopes ).  I will sin, and that sin has consequences even though I am forgiven.  In the Spirit God sees me as sinless, but if I were to kill someone for example, I would still end up in jail.  Sin has a result, even forgiven sin.  Yet there’s another way.  Love.  An abundance of love will cover over the sins and make them like they didn’t exist.  So when I am so desperate for the Lord but know that I will still fall into sin, I should love Him even more.  Show love most especially in those times where it doesn’t make sense.

Why, because love covers my sin.  Covering my sin helps make me holy again.  Holiness is relationship.

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As I was waiting on the Lord today, I was reminded of something Neville Johnson said in his series, Laying Proper Foundations, and basically what he said is that God cannot bring you into the Spirit world while you have certain.. we’ll say wounds.  I can’t really think of the word, but unrepentant sins, areas in your life your susceptible to the enemy, things that haven’t been worked out.  To do so is dangerous because you can so easily be decieved.  After hearing this again, I had to go back before the Lord and lay some things down.  There are some attitudes that I have held lately that are not healthy or Godly.  I had to give those up.  You know, it’s really hard to give things up when you are convinced you’ve been wronged.  You want it to be made right, not to let it go.

But I did.

I think. 🙂

So I was reminded of that again today.  How there’s a certain level of holiness required to get closer to God.  You don’t have to be sinless to know Him, to be used by Him, but there is only so much He can do when you are serving two masters.  I believe Paul Keith Davis liked to call this the Thrones of our Soul.

Do you have an area that you are currently in sin, or fall to easily into sin in?  Are you living with attitudes of the enemy.  Bitterness, regret, envy, lust.

Give them up.  Unless you can come clean, you can’t come far.

Suppose one of you wants to build a tower. Won’t you first sit down and estimate the cost to see if you have enough money to complete it? – Luke 14:28

 

How many of us have found ourselves asking what the will of God is for our lives?

I must confess, one of my greatest fears is coming to the end of my life and finding that I was doing my will and not His.  I find it amazing that we will live so much of our lives unsure on His will.  We believe in the Lord, but not enough to put all else aside to find out.

But for those who really seek, where do we begin.  Where do we start to come back into His will, to seek out His desires.  For me, it starts here.

For this is the will of God, your sanctification – 1 Thesalonians 4:3

We can go into sanctification, and I have before, so let’s just leave it as holiness.  The will of God is to move into holiness.  Stopping sinning.  Put away those ungodly things.  Center your lives around him.

Yet how many of us still live in sin.  How many still focus our lives open something else.  Yet we expect to know God’s will when we can’t get away from our addictions, our gossip, anger, bitterness, you name it.  We’ve convinced ourselves that to live is to struggle in sin.  Want to know God’s will for you, that’s easy.  Get free from your sin.  Put aside whatever it takes to live in a godly manner, then come back and ask.  How can God entrust us with His Kingdom, when we can’t manage our own.

Obviously this is me.  I talk to myself more, it just feels better to say us, to feel like I’m not the only idiot out there.

I was never taught holiness growing up.  I was taught about doing the right things, about the commandments, about being good, but not holiness.  I’ve always known that we should be good, do the right thing, because that’s what God wants us to do.  I think I knew in some way that the better I was, the more pleased He would be, but we’ve been brought up with so much grace, it’s hard to really know what to believe.  It’s more like we’re shooting for a cutoff.  Somewhere good enough that we know we’re saved because God’s working in our lives to keep us good, but not so good that we have to give up too much, or try to hard.  Far be it that we inconvenience ourselves for God.

So, let’s just say I start looking into holiness more, we can probably think Sadhu Sundar Selvaraj for that.  And one day I went searching for scriptures and found this one.

Therefore, having these promises, beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all defilement of flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God. – 2 Corinthians 7:1

Interesting.  So having “these promises”, we need to be holy.  That intrigued me more, maybe I found something very valuable here, so I go back and read the section before.

Or what agreement has the temple of God with idols? For we are the temple of the living God; just as God said, “I will dwell in them and walk among themAnd I will be their God, and they shall be My people“Therefore, come out from their midst and be separate,” says the Lord.  “And do not touch what is unclean; and I will welcome you.  “And I will be a father to you, and you shall be sons and daughters to Me,” says the Lord Almighty. – 2 Corinthians 6:16-18

Now, at this point, I feel like I need to be honest.  When I read that, it just went over my head.  I remember thinking, what do these have to do with holiness, what is this, and why is it worth it.  Not exactly sure why it didn’t sink in much, in fact, I nearly moved on, but decided to add it to my list.  My list of passages to meditate on.  I keep a list.  Things I want to memorize and just go over and over, and somehow I knew this was on.

So I memorized it, meditated on it a little bit.  Seemed good, still not a big revelation, until recently.  When I go back over it and make sure I have it memorized and I really begin to think here.

Firstly, I love the thought of God saying that I will be part of His people.  That He will dwell in us, and walk along side us.  What a promise! And it even gets better.  Not only that, but He goes on to say He will be a Father to us, and we will be sons and daughters to Him.  Think about this.  He will be a father.  Tell me, what child does not know his father.  What kind of child doesn’t live with his father, know his voice, see him often.  I can think of two types, an orphan or a bastard.  Either we were born and were lost, or we were born out of wedlock.  I really don’t have a spiritual analogy here for each, other than to say that I remember Jesus saying He would not leave us as orphans.

So let’s be honest with ourselves here.  It’s about time we actually believe the Bible.  If the word says we will be God’s people, He will dwell in us, walk with us, be our Father; don’t you think we would actually know Him.  We’re back to my age-old issue here with much of christianity right now.  We don’t know God.  We “spiritually” know Him, as in, we have faith in the Word, but we don’t live that.  We don’t talk with Him, see Him, move in His presence.  Instead, we guess, we hope, we blindly wander about trying to do His will.  If we’re honest, the life we live is not what He promised.

So what was the promise in 2 Corinthian 6, that if we come out from their midst and don’t touch what is unclean, then we will be His children.  Sounds to me like God wants us to be holy.  If that wasn’t clear enough, Paul finished it up.  “Therefore, having these promises, beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all defilement of flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God.”   So the natural result of these promises is to cleanse ourselves and be holy.

What does this mean?  That the basis of our relationship with God is holiness.  That’s it.

If we want to hear his voice, we better practice holiness.  If we want to walk in His courts, holiness.  If you want to see God(blessed are the pure in heart), holiness.

Be holy, for I am holy. – 1 Peter 1:16

If it couldn’t be done, why would Paul tell us to perfect holiness, instead of saying to try and be as holy as we can. It is possible. And it is necessary.  Something that popped into my head while I was praying today is below.  These three attributes being the basis for practicing holiness.  I have no scripture basis for this part, so take it with a grain of salt.

Holiness = HOnesty + humiLIty + brokeNESS

So holiness….

Who’s in?

Who may ascend into the hill of the Lord? And who may stand in His holy place? He who has clean hands and a pure heart, who has not lifted up his soul to falsehood and has not sworn deceitfully. – Psalm 24:3-4

I’ve had a bit of pride knocked out of me lately.  I’ve had a couple areas where I’ve falling back into sins I’m struggling to get away from, pride being one of them.  I find myself just suddenly slipping and kicking myself immediately afterward.  Lust, selfishness, anger, you name it.  In one way I look at it as being under an attack as I’m having so much more trouble than usual, so maybe that’s a good sign, that the enemy is concerned.

Or perhaps I’m just this bad.

Either way, I have found that even through this, I’ve been feeling the presence of the Lord more.  As I write, his presence or maybe just a slight anointing is there.  Just a presence, a sort of pressure upon my mind.  He brings me peace.  That’s part of why I believe it is His presence, because peace follows the realization of Him.  I think the humility I’ve had from such struggles draws Him near.
And I’m already off topic.

So I was thinking about where I’m at.  I have strived, I’ve pursued.  I’ve given up lots of sleep, free time, and my desires.  Yet, I feel stuck.  I keep coming back to the verse in Matthew that says “blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God”.  I’ve written a post about Holiness, and I believe it to be so true, yet I cannot get myself there.

That’s why today I came across the Psalm up above.  Who can ascend up to the Lord?  My hands must be clean, I must break free from these sins that entagle me.  My heart must be pure, I need to purify my motives, my feelings and desires.  And my soul must not be lifted up to idols, there is only Jesus.  My heart, my passion can only be Him.

So today I have taken those two verses as my motto.  I will read them, memorize them, meditate on them, and put all of my heart into them.  I want to walk each day living that motto.  I can think of no greater call than to know Him, to stand before Him and worship Him with all my heart.  

Lord God, have mercy on me.  I cannot do this myself.  My heart cries out to you.  I want to be with you.  Give me grace to overcome.  

We fast and we pray and we don’t hear from God.  I think I have to admit that is part of why I don’t want to do any extended fasts, because I don’t actually expect to hear from Him.  There, I said it.  Haven’t you often felt the same way.  Have you done extended prayer sessions and short fasts and never really get a clear word.  Do you not want to fast sometimes because it seems like a waste of effort when you feel like nothing will come of it.

Today in the car it hit me.  Often we ask His will and never get a response.  Why?  Because we are already out of it.  Because we live in our sins and are unwilling to change.

Again we think we should receive all the things of God even if we aren’t willing to actually follow them.  We want to pick and choose our God.  We want the buffet line of Christianity.  I’ll take some bible study, a little prayer on the side, financial security and hope for my future, but let me leave those trials in that bucket, and giving up my life, it’s just too bitter, I think I’ll pass.

A good example?  Look at Psalm 91.  Famous as a psalm of protection from God.  I’ve even read a book dedicated to this Psalm.  We want to claim the promises of this psalm but look past the first verse.  “He who dwells in the secret place of the most high”.  Can’t say I know for sure what that is, but if I were to guess, it’s either His will or relationship.  Either way, it involves being very close to God.

We must make our hearts right. We must give him control.  If we aren’t listening to Him with what we have what’s the point in Him speaking more to us?  So before you run off to fast looking for God’s will, make sure you first are following the will that has already been revealed.

Is our problem really this simple?

There is a message from Sadhu Sundar Selvaraj about this in his series entitled “A life well pleasing to God”.

I’m more convinced than ever that Holiness is such a huge deal.  We have dirtied our Christianity to make it ok to struggle with sins, to make it ok that we never get past things.  Not realizing that as we disregard the sacrifice of Christ, that we dirty his blood.  He paid a price for us to be free, and we count it less significant that our petty indulgences.  Our salvation is not that of Lordship, but of convenience and safety.

For it is written: “Be holy, because I am holy. – 1 Peter 1:16

God called us to be holy so we could be like Him.  Our relationship is based on what we have in common, and that is Holiness.  That as we set ourselves apart from the world, we become more like Christ.  As we become like Him, He in turn draws near to us.  If we continue in sin, we cannot grow, we cannot hear.  We sentence ourselves to the same place we have always been.

God is available for a personal relationship.  Not a sunday-school-answer relationship, but a true one.  Where we can talk, see each other, get to know each other.  God desires this, but we don’t.  We’ve become so convinced that our pageantry is relationship, that we can’t dig ourselves out.  We think we are rich, but we are poor.  We think we know so much, but we don’t know Him.  He is the bread of life.  He is the giver, the sustainer of life itself, but we’ve convinced ourselves that life is enjoying what we have, not knowing the one who made it.  Don’t you think life should involve Him who created it, not just the drama we had created around Him.

Stop bringing meaningless offerings! Your incense is detestable to me. New Moons, Sabbaths and convocations– I cannot bear your worthless assemblies. Your New Moon feasts and your appointed festivals I hate with all my being. They have become a burden to me; I am weary of bearing them. – Isaiah 1:13-14

We have built our faith upon traditions and interpretations, rather than upon the relationship with the living God himself.  That relationship is bounded somewhere upon holiness.  Be willing to set aside all your sins, all the things that pull you from God and see whether you will grow.  Take a chance, do that which you know to do and continue.

Make every effort then to add to your faith, goodness; and to goodness, knowledge; and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, perseverance; and to perserverance, godliness; and to godliness, brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness, love. – 1 Peter 1:5-7

The key to godliness, is through perserverance.  Perserverance comes from self-control in the knowledge we have gained from our faith.  It’s like a ladder, we build upon it.  And keeping Holy and away from sin keeps us in that right relationship.  I for one have those couple sins that I just keep not getting myself free from.  I’m not talking the accidental stuff, but the things I choose when I’m low.  The things I know is right and then justify later.  No wonder He doesn’t move, I haven’t wanted Him to.

But I do now.

I have often found myself thinking that I would be more Godly if I knew what to do.  I listen to these men of God, and their walks, and tell myself that part of my lack of growth is that I don’t hear from God like they do.  That if I could hear His voice and know His will for my life, then I could have a chance of walking with God as well.  Of course I don’t always say it in these words, but that’s the basic gist.  If I knew God’s will, I would do it.

Except all I’m doing is trying to blame-shift.  I’m trying to put the fault on God’s side for not speaking to me, rather than on my side.  I had a revelation on this when I started to meditate upon this verse:

And He who sent Me is with Me; He has not left Me alone, for I always do the things that are pleasing to Him. – John 8:29

I realized that although I don’t hear like these men of God do, I don’t have the revelations that they do, I still know ways to please God.  There are different levels of revelation, and the Lord judges us based upon our level of revelation.

You see, there’s plenty of things I know to do that would please God and I don’t.  Or I do them for a little bit but don’t stay consistent.  So if I have these small revelations and I’m not faithful there, why would he entrust me with more?  However, if I’m faithful to act in all that I currently know, God will surely be faithful to show me more.  The problem is that I don’t do the things I know to do.  It’s much easier to debate, than to obey.

So I look at Jesus, who did everything to please God and realize I can do that as well.  In fact, I had a day that I felt I actually did fairly good at it.  Just a day, but it was a good day.  I found that I actually have a chance at success, that I can overcome.  I think it’s a focus thing.  Rather than looking at these goals I’ve set up for myself and feeling like I fall short, instead I just take each moment and ask myself if it will please God.  If I think it will, I do it.  Simple as that.  And if I am wrong, I have to believe that God is faithful to correct, and to know I am willing to take any correction and act on it, to continue to please Him.

Try it.  Decide today that you will be pleasing to Him.  If you set it in your heart, and desire it, you can achieve it.  This is perhaps my best chance at holiness.

And without holiness, no one can see God.