Many people state that their reason for not attending church, is the issue of holiness standards. Years before coming to God, I can remember feeling a need for God, but I could not see myself ever living a holy lifestyle. I thought of the things which I knew that I must give up. . . drinking, drug use, gambling, immodest, immoral behavior, and they seemed to be too high of a price to pay for a relationship with God. My drinking. . . my smoking. . . Really my pride was too important to me. I was unwilling to submit to God. I thought myself too capable. . . too independent. . . too much of a free spirit to ever bend my knee to God. My life progressively grew more tumultuous, more filled with strife and pain. . . with the crisis of my heart surgery, I was faced with my mortality, the costs of my pride became apparent even through my stubbornness, and I did submit to Jesus.
Today almost 13 years later, I greatly value living a holy lifestyle. It is no burden. It is what keeps me from going back into the swamp that was my life before Jesus. I value righteousness, not because I am holier than anyone else, not because I am more righteous than others, but because I remember the pain of where I came from, and I never want to go back.
But with our current strong societal aversion to holiness, many contemporary churches are greatly lowering or abandoning entirely former standards of holiness in an effort to be more appealing to world. . . We hear of churches where the pastor conducts Bible studies in a bar, while swilling beer. . .Churches where very provocatively immodest dress is allowed for those in leadership, and conducting service the on the platform, and in the choir. . .Churches not preaching against sexual immorality, but accepting of it as an inescapable fact of modern life. . .We are not to remain the same way we were when we came to God. Our relationship with Him is to transform us into ‘new creatures in Christ.’
Wouldn’t this acceptance of the unholy in the church, be like Weight Watchers eliminating fresh vegetables and adding cream filled donuts and stuffed crust double cheese meat lovers pizzas to their menu plans in order to become more appealing to people? Is not this then catering to the same appetite which caused the people to seek help with their weight? How then is one delivered from being too heavy by eating the same way and not changing. . .not transforming your desires to healthier choices. Staying with this example, there is a direct relationship between the strict reduced fat/carbohydrate diet, and the desired results. . .
Lowered standards is possibly a path to full pews, but this clearly is not the path to God, Lowered standards were not the message of Christ. Jesus told the adulterous woman John 8:11. . .”Go and sin no more. . . “ Jesus standards were higher than those of the Mosaic Law. . . In the Law you had to commit the act for it to be a sin. . .Jesus said that the thought, was the same as the act of sin. . .
The Word of God is clear:
Be ye holy. . . for I am holy. To be Holy is to be different than the rest of the world. To be holy is not to fit in. To be holy is to overcome your flesh, and subdue your pride. . . to submit yourself to what God wants for you.
Holiness is foundational to a close relationship with God. Today, almost 13 years after my conversion from atheism, I do not find it a burden to live a holy lifestyle, but rather it is the keystone of my walk with the Lord. Before I fell in love with Jesus, all I could see of Christianity were the do’s and don’ts. Can’t do this. . . can’t do that. . . can’t do the other thing. . . have to do this. . .
Viewed from the outside, Christianity seemed to be an oppressive, and horribly restrictive lifestyle, but it is clear that God desires us to be holy. . . and now. . .today I love God with all my heart. . . all my soul. . . and all my strength. . . and as such I want Him to be happy with me. I do not want to disappoint Him. I want no barriers between us, and as such: dressing modestly. . . not drinking. . . avoiding immorality of all flavors. . . rejecting the world . .subduing the flesh. . . I do not gain heaven by these things, but by my holiness. . . I avoid temptation. . . I avoid sin. . . and thereby draw closer to Him.
If I compare myself to other men. . .If I measure myself to those around me, if my motivation is to be ‘better’ than someone else. . . then I am self-righteous and prideful, but by keeping my eye solely upon the Lord, and His spotless example. . . and keeping as my motivation, to become separated from the world and devoted to Him. . . pleasing to Him. . .with no barrier between us, then the path of holiness is a path which leads into deeper and closer relationship with God.
From the outside looking in, it appears to be all about the do’s and don’ts. . . but now being converted. . .the view from the inside is that I am head over heels in love with Jesus, and wish to do those things pleasing to Him. I greatly desire to live a lifestyle as pleasing to Him as possible. . .
Be ye holy for I am holy. . .I strive for holiness. I revel in the comfort and peace found in the arms of God. . .
The devil would have us believe that holiness is a burden and a weakness. . . a stumbling block. . . a hindrance to growth for the church, when in truth it is a great strength. . . and foundational to our faith. . .
We are to be anointed, and sanctified to the Lord. . holy vessels of God’s Spirit. . . those items of the temple so dedicated to God were never to be put to common or profane uses. . . So must we be separated and holy, in the world, but not of the world.
To be reborn, is to be born again into a new life. . . We are new creatures. . . old things are passed away. . .
If the old things do not pass away. . . if there is no new life, no new creature resulting from this rebirth. . . if there is no transformation, then rather than a new birth, it is a false labor. . . Be ye holy for I am holy. . . be ye transformed. . . be ye renewed. . . be ye remade. . .
We name ourselves Christians. . .the ‘ian’ suffix in Christ-IAN means to be: “One from, belonging to, relating to, or like.”. . . We are to be Christ-like. . . Be ye holy for I am holy. . .
To say that we are Christ-like, and yet not holy is a terrible blasphemy of God Himself. . .
I love you my God. . .
I long to be close to You. . .
I strive for holiness. . .
I thank you my God. . .
I love you my God. . .