"The LORD said to Moses, "Speak to the entire assembly of Israel and say to them: 'Be holy because I, the LORD your God, am holy." Leviticus 19:1-2 (NIV)
Why is it important for me to strive for holiness in my life?
Holiness (Strong's Concordance):
English Words used in KJV:
be holy 1
[Total Count: 29]
1) to render or acknowledge, or to be venerable or hallow
2) to separate from profane things and dedicate to God
2a) consecrate things to God
2b) dedicate people to God
3) to purify
3a) to cleanse externally
3b) to purify by expiation: free from the guilt of sin
3c) to purify internally by renew
My culture screams that just the opposite should be my "truth." I live in a world where morality is relative to whomever I am talking to. Whatever feels right to me is right for me, isn't it? Not according to the Bible. There are moral absolutes in the sixty-six books of the Old and New Testaments. Those absolutes have outlasted the empires of Egypt, Greece, and Rome. They will continue to outlast any civilization yet to come. God does not change, and certainly not on the issue of sin.
It struck me forcefully today that so many of us think that what goes on in our private lives--those private sins--have no bearing on us or others. I am hearing more and more the philosophy that so many Christ followers have is that what we each do behind closed doors doesn't matter, for the most part. Really? I believe that there is a profound connection between personal holiness and accountability and me being able to call sin by its real name.
Solomon, the writer of Proverbs, said that without revelation, the people cast off restraint (Proverbs 29:18). I decided to look up the word restraint in the Hebrew. This is what my Strong's Concordance revealed:
Origin: a primitive root
Reference: TWOT - 1822,1823,1824
In Hebrew: werptw 1
In NET: unbound 1, neglected 1
In AV: refuse 3, uncover 3, naked 2, avenging 1, avoid 1, go back 1, bare 1, let 1, made naked 1, set at nought 1, perish 1
Definition: 1) to lead, act as leader
2) to let go, let loose, ignore, let alone
2a1) to let go, let loose
2a2) to let alone, avoid, neglect
2a3) to loosen
2b) (Niphal) to be let loose, be loosened of restraint
2c1) to cause to refrain
2c2) to show lack of restraint
2c3) to let loose restraints
When the Word of God is not my moral compass, I have a difficult time discerning what is sin. Life slowly, by increments, becomes a confusing maze of blurred grey lines, instead of bold black and white marks of demarkation. A steady diet of compromise coupled with hurried or no time in God's Word, quenches the Holy Spirit's revelation in my life. Because I compromise, I don't feel I have the authority or the right to speak up for the truth. When I refuse to allow the Word of God to judge my actions, the accuser screams to me that I don't have the right to make a judgment about sin.
Girlfriends, our God calls us to be holy because He is holy. Compromise of God's truth in my life is the worst impediment to holy living. Light and darkness cannot dwell together. Without holiness, you and I will not see the Lord. Are we content to continue a pattern of the weeks, months, and maybe years of feeling a lack of His presence in our lives because we refuse to stop compromising in our personal lives? Holiness demands consecration in every part of my life. It demands humility and repentance--two words that our sinful nature runs from naturally. The crucified life is one that submits to God's truth--even to the point of experiencing death to our desires.
Sin that takes place behind closed doors never stays behind closed doors. Its effects seep out and infect our public lives. It allows us to entertain thoughts that it is better to be politically correct than to stand up for righteousness. It allows fear of others and their opinions to swallow up our voices so that we are ashamed to say Who we belong to. It allows us to deny the resurrection power that we have been given as followers of Jesus Christ. That is no kind of life, not for this girl. We cannot be women that compromise truth and be women of holiness. We just cannot.
This is my heart in this matter:
Philippians 3:12-14 (New Living Translation)
12 I don’t mean to say that I have already achieved these things or that I have already reached perfection. But I press on to possess that perfection for which Christ Jesus first possessed me. 13 No, dear brothers and sisters, I have not achieved it,[a] but I focus on this one thing: Forgetting the past and looking forward to what lies ahead, 14 I press on to reach the end of the race and receive the heavenly prize for which God, through Christ Jesus, is calling us.
Please let me be the first one to say, I do not have this down pat. I sin everyday. But I believe that we have to have God's standard of holiness as our aim. I will never achieve perfection in this lifetime, but God rewards a life that is sold out to Him. He looks at the heart and rewards those who diligently seek Him.
Jesus, without holiness, I will not see the Lord (Hebrews 12:14-15). I have tasted the poison of compromise. Without the unchanging, inerrent Word of God as my truth, life is lived upside down. Your voice becomes faint, Your joy and presence become remote. I have no ability to make a righteous judgment about sin in my life. Save me, Lord, from a life that denies the power of You living inside me.