Dwight Fletcher | A call to holiness - Part II
Can I be holy and have fun as a Christian? Let's review. Last week, we stated that though holiness may not be a trendy or popular term, it does not mean a 'boring', 'sexless' 'uninspired' or 'unattainable' life. Holiness is, in fact, separation to God and is important to our future.
So, let's look at how we can walk holy using the principles outlined in the Bible.
The first principle is that:
I must know and accept some truths about myself - Understanding who we are as Christians is important to living a life of holiness.
TRUTH # 1 - I am a Child of God.
Christians are referred to as "God's obedient children" in 1 Peter 1:14. When we accept Jesus Christ as Lord and Saviour, we become children of God. The assumption is that as His children, we will be obedient to Him.
When we receive Christ, we are also changed and have a new nature. Therefore, we cannot afford to believe anything about ourselves except what God says about us. God says in 1 Peter 2:9 (NIV), "... You are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God's special possession, that you may declare the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His wonderful light."
We are no longer ordinary, we are 'Chosen', a 'Royal Priest', and 'God's special possession'. We have to conduct ourselves accordingly. We are royalty, and so, holiness needs to become our lifestyle. In fact, holiness is the supernatural lifestyle of royalty. This is not a lifestyle of arrogance or one that should be chosen simply to be different. It is an effort on our part to fit into the plan of God for our lives.
The second truth we have to embrace about ourselves as children of God is that:
TRUTH # 2 - I am Dead.
In Galatians 2:20 (NIV) it says, "I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me." The old me is dead and Christ now lives in me. So, each day I accept this and choose to allow Christ to override the old desires. Christianity is not a self-help or a self-improvement programme but a replacement programme, where I die to self and self-initiated behaviour and come alive to the Holy Spirit living in me.
So, it is a struggle, but we can't just give up. In 2 Peter 1:10 (KJV), we are implored to make every effort to "... make your calling and election sure." As Christians, if we're succumbing to evil and not struggling for righteousness, something is very wrong. Paul spoke about this struggle in Roman 7:14-25 where he said that "Nothing good lives in me. When I want to do good, evil presents itself. Oh, what a wretched man I am!" He ended by asking. "Who will save me from this life?" His response: "The answer is in Jesus Christ".
Paul encouraged us in Romans 8:12 -17 (NLT) "... Therefore, dear brothers and sisters, you have no obligation to do what your sinful nature urges you to do. For if you live by its dictates, you will die. But if through the power of the Spirit you put to death the deeds of your sinful nature, you will live. For all who are led by the Spirit of God are children of God."
This is how Jesus Himself lived. He did nothing, except that which the Spirit of God told Him. See John 8: 26, 28, 38 NLT. He says: "I say only what I have heard from the One who sent me, and He is completely truthful. ... I do nothing on my own but say only what the Father taught me."
To live the holy life, is going to take practice but we must learn to die each day and allow the Spirit of God to live and operate through us.
We must understand and accept that we are children of God and that we are dead, it is Christ who now lives in us.
Join us next week when we look at additional principles on how to walk holy.