Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Called to be Holy - Part One

Called to be Holy - Part One

Originally posted November 2009 by Chip

Given that our relationship with God should always be the foundation for our life, I have written this article partly as a way to share some of what I’ve learned, and as a personal journey for myself as well.
Through both the Old and New Testament we can see God longing for a holy people:

[Although the whole earth is mine,] you will be for me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation.  — Exodus 19:5b-6a NIV
And ye shall be unto me a kingdom of priests, and an holy nation.  –Exodus 19:6a KJV
But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvelous light.  — 1 Peter 2:9 KJV
But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people belonging to God, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light.  — 1 Peter 2:9 NIV
Follow peace with all men, and holiness, without which no man shall see the Lord. – Hebrews 12:14 KJV

Make every effort to live in peace with all men and to be holy; without holiness no one will see the Lord.  – Hebrews 12:14 NIV
Some things in this life seem completely impossible. Things like acing that math test, actually finding true, lasting love, breaking free of those sins that bind us. Things like living a holy life.  Believe it or not, God is actually beckoning us to be holy and set apart for Him.
So do not be ashamed to testify about our Lord, or ashamed of me his prisoner. But join with me in suffering for the gospel, by the power of God, who has saved us and called us to a holy life – not because of anything we have done, but because of his own purpose and grace. This grace was given us in Christ Jesus before the beginning of time. –
2 Timothy 1:8-9 NIV
If you think about it, it makes sense. I mean, if God is a Holy God (and He is), then wouldn’t it follow that those who follow Him should strive to be holy? 
Living a holy life seems so impossible that many of us have dismissed the thought entirely and limited God to Church activities, events, and specific times of the day, not really living every moment for His glory.  I know I have done that. Sometimes it is too easy to dismiss a holy life as something that is completely impossible and not even worth trying to live because it’s too hard.  I ask you to drop that mindset for the moment.  Why? Because nothing is impossible for God; and if God’s Spirit lives in us, then maybe we should start really believing that the impossible is possible.

So, what should a holy life look like? Good question. One I am still trying to discover the full answer to. This I know: living for God should include everything we do; what we watch on the television, listen to on the radio, read, how we spend our time, what we pursue, and even the way we dress and interact with other people.  Our lives should reflect the Glory of God.  What we say or don’t say, what we do or don’t do, should reflect the purity, the holiness, the awesome character of God.  Does this mean we spout Bible verses every other minute?  Not necessarily.  Does this mean we live by what the Bible says? Absolutely.  Is that a hard thing? Yes. Is it strange? Does it look odd to the world around us? Definitely.  Is it impossible? No. Not if we trust God and don’t rely on our own strength to live a life like this. A holy lifestyle can only be achieved when we lean on God’s strength and not our own. When we depend on God’s power and not our own. When we relinquish what control we have over to the mighty hand of the King.

How do we know what a holy life should look like?  The only way I know how to truly discover that is by reading the Bible. I know, it’s a big book, and sometimes confusing.  But this I know, if you truly spend time in the Word of God and ask Him to reveal to you what you need to know, what He wants you to learn; He will help you.  If you truly want to know God, if you want only what is truly of Him and nothing else (meaning things that look like God but aren’t), then He will not deny that request.
Psalm 27 says: “One thing I ask of the Lord, This is what I seek; that I may dwell in the house of the Lord, all the days of my life. To gaze upon the beauty of the Lord, and seek Him in his temple.”
A holy life does not come without commitment and sacrifice. Living completely for the Lord is not something you can do just on a whim. It is a decision you have to consciously make. It’s a choice that you can ignore, or one you can jump into it with all your heart.

Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already been made perfect, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me.  Brothers, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.  – Philippians 3:12-14 NIV
(To Be Continued)

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