HOLINESS...........And its Transforming power to Change




Introduction

Holiness is one of the commands of God found in the old and new testaments of the bible. In Leviticus 20:7, the Lord says: Sanctify yourselves therefore and be ye holy, for I am the Lord your God. 

Holy living does not come naturally to man, because a man was not born holy.  It will only result from a life surrendered to God through Christ.  You must give your heart to Christ and accept Jesus as Lord and personal Saviour and receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. With the Holy Spirit in your life, walking in holiness becomes easy.

Holiness is the will of God for His sons and daughters and that is why He instructed the children of Israel, saying: " And ye shall be holy men unto me: neither shall ye eat any flesh that is torn of beasts in the field; ye shall cast it to the dogs. No holy man or woman in the days of old, even until now can afford to eat anything or behave as it pleases him or her.  This is because you are no longer the owner of yourself, you are of the Lord's, bought with a price.

You will have to do those things that please God and bring glory to His name.  A holy person must be spirit-filled and discrete.  There are things you will not do, eat or drink, not because they are necessarily evil, but they could be a weight on you.  For instance, drinking alcohol or smoking.  Drinking may not be sin, but being drunk is a sin.  Smoking is practically putting fire in your heart, which is the temple of the Holy Ghost and no longer your own.

What is Holiness?

To be holy means to be set apart or separate from sin and evil. God is holy—completely separate from everything that is evil, according to 1 John 1:5. God calls us to be holy, just as He is, we should understand that holiness is impossible without the help of the Holy Spirit.   We must have the Holy Spirit living in us and leading and directing our actions.  Holiness is by the power of the Spirit.

Having said that, we should understand that though we need the help of the Spirit to live holy, we have a role to play, that is to insist on doing the right things, restraining our eyes and hands from all evil.  While the Spirit is helping us, we must not desire such things that can cause us to fall into sin.  There are places and things we must withdraw from as a way of life. 

In 1 Thessalonians 4:3–8, Paul emphasizes sexual purity as part of holy living: “It is God’s will that you should be sanctified: that you should avoid sexual immorality; that each of you should learn to control your own body in a way that is holy and honourable, not in passionate lust like the pagans, who do not know God” (verses 3–5).  

We can live a holy life by being obedient to God in all areas of life. Knowing and obeying God’s Word is key accordingly to John 17:17. Hiding God’s Word in our hearts keeps us from sin. offering our bodies as “living sacrifices” also keep us from sin.  When we realize that our body is the Lord's, we will handle it with dignity. 

The Will of God
A life of holiness is what God has called us to, and such will make greater intimacy with God possible. King David, described as a “man after God’s own heart”, understood the connection between a holy life and experiencing God’s presence.  He says in Psalms 15 - "Who may worship in your sanctuary, LORD? Who may enter your presence on your holy hill? Those who lead blameless lives and do what is right, speaking the truth from sincere hearts.
Unholy living floods believers’ lives with sin, and strain our relationship with God. But. in the pursuit of holiness, we embrace the holy life God calls us to live.  “Holiness” is often misunderstood. Many believers think living a holy life is just too hard. Or too boring. Or simply undesirable. They recognize the truth that God commands His children to be holy, but the flesh gets in the way. 

Others compare themselves to other Christians around them and think they’re doing pretty good. But, God doesn’t call us to “pretty good.” living.  He called us to holy and righteous living - 1 Peter 1:16.
1. Holiness may involve changing the way we think, or respond to temptations.
2. Holiness will mean doing things differently, from envy to love, bitterness to forgiveness.  From selfishness to caring and so forth.
3. Holiness makes us useful and effective for God’s purposes (2 Tim 2:20-26)
4. Holiness in your life causes people around you to glorify God (1 Peter 2:9).

Living Holy - What type of man are you?
In the world, we have different kinds of men. The bible talks about the natural man, the carnal and the spirit-led man. Your state of mind will determine what you will do or not do.  The natural man is not saved yet, while the carnal man, may have received the Lord Jesus Christ as Saviour, but he is still worldly, while the spirit-led man is spiritual.

1. Natural Man - The unsaved people
“A natural man does not accept the things of the Spirit of God; for they are foolishness to him, and he cannot understand them, because they are spiritually appraised” (1 Corinthians 2:14).

2. Carnal Man - Brothers and Sisters, who have received Christ, but who are living the Christian lives in their own strength and so their lives are filled with ups and downs...they live in defeat., for it is written: By strength shall no man prevail.

The carnal man is self-directed.  He is in the church but does not have time to study and meditate on the Word of God, so he takes his decisions literally on his human wisdom.  His self directed carnal life makes him a baby in the Lord after many years of knowing the Lord.  His life still exhibits those low lifestyles like anger, bitterness, prayerlessness, self-pity etc.  Apostle Paul describing such Christians says:

“And I brethren, could not speak to you as to spiritual men, but as to carnal men, as to babes in Christ. I gave you milk to drink, not solid food; for you were not yet able to receive it. Indeed, even now you are not yet able, for you are still carnal. For since there are jealousy and strife among you, are you not fleshly, and are you not walking like mere men?” - 1 Corinthians 3:1-3.

3. Spirit-filled Man - One that has received the Lord as Lord and Saviour, guided by the Holy Spirit.  He lives a Christ-like life - He who is spiritual the bible says will have the grace to appraises all things…spiritually because he has the mind of Christ - 1 Corinthians 2:15. 

How to Cultivate Holy Living
For us to cultivate holiness within and without, we need a new mindset.  A mindset of a person that sees himself as God sees him, a born-again child of God, clothed with the righteousness of Christ. You have to surrender every worldly desire to the cross and consider yourself dead to sin.  The bible says in Romans 6:11- "Count yourselves dead to sin but alive to God in Christ Jesus”.  Any time you face temptation, you should say, “I rebuke you, devil, the Lord rebuke you!  I am a new creation in Christ, I will not do evil.

To live a holy life, we must take responsibility for our actions, errors and falls.  When we do that, we are honest, and this is how believers should be organized. our response should be to confess the sin and learn from the mistake, a positive behaviour that opens the way to our restoration.

The new Spirit inside of us is Holy and His desires are only pure and good.  There is no evil around Him and if we allow the Spirit of God to rule over our lives, we will manifest holiness with ease, and it will soon become a lifestyle.

Manifestations of Holiness

1. Honour God
If we want to be holy, we must honour and reverence God. Without reverence of the Father, we won’t be able to live holy. Christian women should have a reverential fear of God, submitting themselves to the Lord and desiring to please Him. If we want to walk holy, we must honour God by seeking His face in prayer and the study of His Word.

A relationship with the Father is imperative to those who want to be holy. Since we are His children and members of His family, we should resemble Him. We should take after Him. If we aren’t a part of His family – if we aren’t His children, we can’t live holy.

2. Show more Love
God is love (1 John 4:8). Love is the foundation upon which everything else is built. 1 Corinthians 13:1 teaches that without love, the work we do isn’t profitable for us. Thus, love is essential to holy living. The love that flows from Christians should be pure, without hypocrisy, a healing balm that soothes the tired, angry, depleted soul. Holy men and women should have forgiving hearts full of compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, patience, and forbearance (Colossians 3:12-13).

Those who are holy and walk uprightly before the Lord, need to be on guard against harbouring unforgiveness, anger, and resentment in their hearts. We should be quick to forgive and spread the love of Christ everywhere we go. If we’re going to be holy like He is holy, that means, we have to show love and forgive even when the recipient doesn’t deserve our love or forgiveness. Sometimes, we’ll have to love others first, even when we don’t feel like or want to love them (see 1 John 4:19). 

3. Honour Parents
Jesus Christ was the Word of God in flesh (John 1:14), and even He honoured His parents continuing “in subjection to them” (Luke 2:51). Christians should honour their parents as much as possible, without following any immoral, illegal, or sinful behaviour they may display.

Honouring our parents means loving them and helping them as much as we can.
Honouring our parents means witnessing to them about Jesus Christ and remembering that we wouldn’t be in the earth without our parents.
Loving our parents and forgiving them, despite their shortcomings and flaws, is an excellent way to be holy because God is holy. 

4. Serve your Fellows
Matthew 5:16 tells us to, “Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.” Being holy glorifies the father. Jesus Christ emulated the Father by serving others. And since Jesus served people, we must serve people as well.

We can serve anyone by using our gifts, talents, and resources to share the good news of the Gospel of Jesus, feed the hungry, and provide shelter to the homeless.  We can serve fellow believers by edifying, exhorting, and comforting them (see 1 Corinthians 14:3) along their Christian journey.  We serve the Lord by obeying His Word and glorifying Him in the earth.

5. Abstain from Sin
Our bodies are God’s temples (1 Corinthians 6:19). We need to keep our temples holy because God’s Spirit abides in our temples. Christian women should dress modestly, as not to draw attention to self. Their life should attract people to God, not to themselves. Christian women should stand on the truth of God’s Word and keep themselves from the lusts of the world.

Romans 12:1 teaches us to present our “bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God,” because doing so is our reasonable service.  The Bible also tells us to flee fornication and to “avoid fornication” (1 Corinthians 7:2). An interesting point about sin is that there is an appearance of sin, which leads to a fall.  The Bible tells us to avoid the very appearance of evil.  So, not only are we to avoid sin, we’re called in holiness to avoid the appearance of evil - (1 Thessalonians 5:22). 

6. Workplace

Those who desire to live holy will reflect that desire in their conduct everywhere they go to work or do business.  Their conduct in the office or at home should be God-fearing and Spirit-led - 2 Peter 3:11.  Christian women shouldn’t engage in worldly behaviours in the workplace. They should respect their colleagues and show respect to their subordinates as well.  They do the shopping and buying things in the house, so the Christian woman should be courteous to people in the stores, market etc. No rude or foul language to cashiers, house helps etc. You should remember that your life is an epistle being read by people around you. 2 Corinthians 3:2-3.

Living Holy and ...Walking  in the Spirit

The first thing to note about living a holy life is that you must first become a Christian before you can live holy.  You become a Christian through the confession of your lips and receiving the Lord Jesus Christ into your heart as Lord and Saviour and then The Holy Spirit, which is the Spirit of Christ will enter into you and He, the Lord will empower you to live right.

You can only walk in holiness by the ministry of the Holy Spirit, according to John 3:1-8. From the moment of your spiritual re-birth takes place, you are able to resist evil and all temptation.

Level of Yieldedness
The degree of holiness you manifest is according to the level of your submission to the Lord.  It is also a question of your knowledge of the scriptures.  If you surrender all you have to the Lord and depend on Him, you will manifest greater faith. Holy living is a life separated unto God, to do His will and please Him and so the ability to walk in the Spirit is dependent on what you know about God, your faith and trust in the Almighty God.

The Holy Spirit will be redundant in the life of a believer who does not know the Word, neither does he labour to study and meditate on it.  To walk in the Spirit, hear the voice of the Lord, you will have to embrace the Word of God, study it to know God and grow in faith. 

When we are filled by the Holy Spirit and filled with faith, then we can experience the abundant and fruitful life which Christ promised to each Christian.  To enjoy this life-changing experience, you must not only confess and forsake your sins, but you also will have to present every area of your life to God according to Romans 12:1-2.  Let the Holy Ghost take over your life and direct you.

This is the confidence we have in Him that  “If we ask anything according to His will, He hears us. And if we know that He hears us in whatever we ask, we know that we have the requests which we have asked of Him” (1 John 5:14, 15).

The man or woman who walks in the Spirit is the man that enjoys the abundant life that Christ has promised us. He says " I came that they might have life, and might have it abundantly” (John 10:10).

Works of faith
To walk in the Spirit and live holy:

1. Faith (trust in God and in His promises) is the only means by which a Christian can live the Spirit-directed life. As you continue to trust Christ moment by moment:

2. Let your life demonstrate more and more of the fruit of the Spirit.  Purify your hearts, sanctify yourselves and be more and more conformed to the image of Christ.

3. Your prayer life and study of God’s Word will become more meaningful.

4. Do the work of evangelism.  Go share the gospel with people and you will experience His power in unique ways.

Holiness unto the Lord

When the children of Israel left Egypt, God led them practically through Moses, so He was in their midst.  So, the Lord told Moses to tell the children of Israel, saying:

Ye have seen what I did unto the Egyptians, and how I bore you on eagles' wings and brought you unto myself.  Now, therefore, if ye will obey my voice indeed, and keep my covenant, then ye shall be a peculiar treasure unto me above all people: for all the earth is mine:

And ye shall be unto me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation. Regard not them that have familiar spirits, neither seek after wizards, to be defiled by them: I am the Lord your God.  These are the words which the Lord spoke to Moses for the children of Israel in the Old Testament.  In the new Testament, we are encouraged to pursue holiness as a lifestyle, without particularly mentioning any do and do-not.

You are encouraged to seek and serve the Lord with all your heart, spirit, soul and body, and to love your neighbours as yourself.  Apostle Paul warning Christians in Hebrew 12 says: "Follow peace with all men, and holiness, without which no man shall see the Lord.  Looking diligently lest any man fails of the grace of God; lest any root of bitterness springing up trouble you, and thereby many are defiled.   Lest there be any fornicator, or profane person, as Esau, who for one morsel of meat sold his birthright"- Heb 12:14-16

A holy person is a unique vessel in the hand of God.  Believers who desire to walk in Holiness must be let by the Spirit. 

FIRE...









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