Monday, May 10, 2010

Holiness: Your Top Priority

“But as he which hath called you is holy, so be ye holy in all manner of conversation.” I Peter 1:15

   References: ICR. 6:19-20; John 14; GN. 24; I.CR.7:23; I PT.1:13-18

Not too many Christians think of themselves as holy. Yet in I Peter 1:15, God commands you that you are to be holy. Why? Because God is Holy and you ,as his child, are to identify or be like him. Remember back when you were a kid and recess came? Everyone would gather in a circle and two would be chosen as team captains, then the captains would start choosing who they wanted to play on their team. As each one was chosen, he would move to line up alongside of his captain: he was identifying with his captain and other teammates. This is what God expects you to do when he chooses you.

This is a daily challenge not just for you, but for every one of God’s children.

In the New Testament the book of 1st Corinthians, Paul was explaining to the new believers in Corinth how the church was to live. This is for the church today to know as well. Things had changed from the Old Testament time when the people were under the law. Under the law, animal sacrifices were to be brought to the temple where God’s Spirit met with a priest. The priest took the animals and offered them to God as a sacrifice for the peoples’ sins. Now that is no longer required Paul says. There is a better way.

Look at what Paul asks in I Ch. 6:19:

“What? Know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own?” I CR. 6: 19

Paul tells you that the Holy Spirit is now inside of the believer. What caused this change? When you asked Jesus to forgive your sin and save you; you became part of the family of God. You accepted the final price or sacrifice which Jesus, your High Priest, made for you which was His death on the cross.

“For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God’s.” I CR. 6:20

As a young child reaches for something that they do not need, you that are parents or caretakers of children will try to replace that with something that the child does need and can safely handle. The Holy Spirit works within you to offer you the good things the Father has for you. Those experiences God has in store for you will be good for you in contrast to those desires that you have that may hurt you.

Jesus paid for your soul by his death on the cross. In Romans chapter 12, Paul says it is only reasonable that you be a living sacrifice now that you belong to God. What he means is that you should sacrifice everyday your desires, and replace them with what God desires to give you. As you do this your thoughts will start to come more and more in line with Gods’ thoughts and you will become holy, more like Christ.

“I beseech you therefore brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service.” Rm. 12:1

Today, the temple of God is not a building, it is your body. You are a part of the living church. God, in the person of the Holy Spirit lives in you. Just before He ascended into Heaven to take his place at the right hand of the Father as your High Priest, Jesus told his disciples just who the Holy Spirit is and why he would be living within the believer. The Apostle John recorded it in the gospel of John chapter 14.

In John 14: 16-17:

“I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you for ever. Even the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it seeth him not, neither knoweth him: but ye know him; for he dwelleth with you, and shall be in you.”

In verse 19 of that same chapter in John, Christ reaffirms His love for all believers when He says he will not leave us comfortless. He isn’t going to leave you as an orphan. His Spirit, the Holy Spirit, is living within you, as close as he can get.

That Comforter, sent to live in you will teach you all things, and bring to your memory when you need them the things that you have already learned from Him. (John 14:26) He is there to protect and guide you. How? It is through knowing, believing, and applying the truth of the Bible, surrender your will (desires) for His. God expects you, as his child to learn of His ways.

“Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me, for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls.” Matthew 11:29

How can you do that? There is only one way and that’s through the example of Jesus. Jesus came to earth, he was tempted and tried in all the same areas as you and I are everyday, but he did not sin. What was the secret? What was the key? It is no secret. Jesus lived daily to do the will of the Father.

To be able to do that he had to study the Word of God. He was familiar with every part of the Word of God. He memorized parts of the Old Testament so that he might be able to use it to resist the devil in time of temptation. In the book of 1st John, the apostle tells you plainly that if you say that Jesus lives within your heart then you should act like Him.

“He that saith he abideth in him ought himself also so to walk, even as he walked.(talking about Jesus here)
1 John 2: 6

Then Jesus himself, in the gospel of John tells you:

“For I have given you an example, that ye should do as I have done to you.”
John 13:16

He was speaking about your attitude toward one another in that verse.
When you choose to become God’s child, you come under the protection of the Almighty. He tells you that no weapon against you will prosper. You have the privilege of being called the sons of God, and a home reserved in Heaven for you, but you also have the responsibility to obey the command to come and line up beside Him and your other brothers so all people will be able to identify which side you are on.

 “Be ye holy, for I am holy.” (1Peter 1:15)

He knows you can’t do this on your own, but God is merciful and loving. That is why He has sent the Holy Spirit to give you 24 hour access to His strength. He is there, living in you to comfort, strengthen, teach and guide you. As you learn more and more of God’s way and surrender your desires for His, you will become more and more like Jesus: The Holy One. You can win: over your selfish wants and Satan’s pressure. You have His promise. Paul says:

“I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.” Phillipians 4:13

When you listen and surrender your desires and your ways to His desire and His way, you are becoming a person that is holy, and therefore acceptable for God to use.

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