Oct 032013
 

Battle for personal holinessLast week we started to look at the subject of Personal Holiness. If you have ever sought to be more holy you will have realised just how much of a battle it is. We very soon see that it is not a task we can complete on our own and as I mentioned last week, we are fully reliant on the Holy Spirit’s power and help to get us through.

There are so many things that prevent us from being effective, sins such as; greed, idolatry, lust, drunkenness, gambling, anger, gossip and laziness to name just a few.

We all have our struggles with any one or more of the above weaknesses which can cause us to regularly trip up. It may start off with our thought life, for example daydreaming about a certain person you may find attractive, and before you know it you have got totally carried away with your dreaming. Or you may become angry with another driver who cuts you up in traffic, inducing “roadrage”. Or it may be that you hear a morsel of juicy gossip and find yourself dying to share it with someone. These thoughts, if left unchecked, can lead to sin.

As we saw in the Romans 12 passage last week the battle nearly always starts in our minds. In 2 Corinthians 10:5 it says: “We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.

And in 1 Peter 1:13-16:

Therefore, with minds that are alert and fully sober, set your hope on the grace to be brought to you when Jesus Christ is revealed at His coming. As obedient children, do not conform to the evil desires you had when you lived in ignorance.But just as He who called you is holy, so be holy in all you do; for it is written: “Be holy, because I am holy”.”

God would not have given us the command to be holy if He hadn’t equipped us for the task. Holiness is within our grasp if we are prepared to stand and fight for it.

Lastly, let’s take a look at the armour we are given to fight this battle we find ourselves in:

Finally, be strong in the Lord and in His mighty power. Put on the full armour of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. Therefore put on the full armour of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the Lord’s people.” (Ephesians 6:10-18)

Some people make it a daily discipline to imagine putting on each piece of armour in turn and saying things like; “Lord I thank You that You are my righteousness, that I am not righteous on my own. I put on the breastplate of righteousness right now in Jesus name”.

That is really not a bad way to start each day – have a regular ‘armour’ check!

 October 3, 2013  Posted by at 9:50 pm Holiness 3 Responses »
Sep 262013
 

Personal holinessI hope you have been finding my series on having a relationship with God useful. We have looked at prayer and bible study and more recently, worship. These are all excellent ways to develop our relationship with God.

This week I am going to look at how our personal holiness helps us to connect with God in a wonderfully personal way, as we pray, read our bibles and worship.

We have been created in God’s image and likeness. As His ambassadors to the world He wants us to reflect His image to all those we come into contact with.

As we get to know God and understand the impact of His grace on our lives, our desires change and we want to become more like Him. We want to ‘take off’ the things that He doesn’t like and ‘put on’ the things that please Him.

Personal holiness can be described as being set apart and devoted to God. It is the determination and commitment to allow these disciplines of prayer, bible study and worship to change us to become more like Him.

And we all, who with unveiled faces contemplate the Lord’s glory, are being transformed into His image with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit.” (2 Corinthians 3:18)

God’s desire is that we grow in holiness. He commands in Leviticus 11:45:

I am the Lord your God; consecrate yourselves and be holy, because I am holy.

He doesn’t ask us to do anything we are unable to do. He has given us His Holy Spirit. The consecration process happens as we willingly follow His ways and rely on Him to make us holy.

Devotion requires effort, not in order to win His favour or any other such thing, but out of a desire to please Him and give Him glory.

There are 3 things to consider when we look at the subject of “Personal Holiness”:

  • Personal holiness is a choice.
  • Personal holiness requires commitment.
  • Personal holiness is a lifestyle.

It’s a Battle

Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship. Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.” (Romans 12:1-2)

The world is vying for our attention. Having become Christians we still find ourselves struggling against sin and temptation. In fact when you gave your life to Christ you entered into a war zone. (Take heart- you are on the winning side!)

If you do what is right, will you not be accepted? But if you do not do what is right, sin is crouching at your door; it desires to have you, but you must rule over it.” (Genesis 4:7)

We also see the warning that Jesus gives to Peter: “Simon, Simon, Satan has asked to sift all of you as wheat. But I have prayed for you, Simon, that your faith may not fail. And when you have turned back, strengthen your brothers.” (Luke 22:31-32)

Reading these verses it is obvious that God holds us responsible to make the effort to be holy, but it is comforting to know that Jesus is praying for us and will help us, and of course as I have mentioned before, He has given us His precious Holy Spirit. Let’s invite Him this week to fill us and help us as we draw ever closer into this wonderful relationship with Him.

 September 26, 2013  Posted by at 10:33 pm Holiness, Holy Spirit No Responses »