We are to reflect God’s holiness in our lives daily, for it tells us in I Thessalonians 4:7, ” For God didn’t call us to be impure, but to live a holy life.” But it’s when our will gets in the way that the inner conflict starts between holiness and selfishness. Let’s just admit it…sin grows in every human heart, and when what we want to do goes against living a pure life, we’ll do one of two things – either we’ll rationalize our sin away, or we’ll mentally soften God’s command. But regardless of what we do, His Word won’t change…”Be holy for I am holy.”
We can’t save ourselves. Nor can we lead a totally blameless and holy life without the help of the Holy Spirit. For it reminds us in Philippians 1:6, “That He who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Jesus Christ.” The Holy Spirit is ever at work, confirming in you the goals and objectives set before you…until that day the ultimate plan and purpose of your life is fulfilled in you through Christ Jesus. We can’t do this without the help of the Holy Spirit. Jesus spoke of this as He called the first disciples in Matthew 4:19, when He said to them, “Come, follow Me, and I will make you fishers of men.” The Greek word for “make” here means that Jesus would actually be doing the work…causing and enabling those fishermen to seek and draw out the lost around them. And we now have the Holy Spirit to do that work in us…inspiring, strengthening, and giving us confidence.
What does it mean to you to be born again? Maybe it’s been a long time since you even thought about it, especially if you’ve been a Believer for years. When you said “Yes” to Jesus, you underwent spiritual rebirth. What was once corruptible became incorruptible, and passed from death unto life. When we are born again, all is made new…for by God’s great mercy and the sacrificial blood of Christ, we are saved from our sins. To be born again means we are truly a new person standing before God…righteous and blameless in His sight.
Everyday we have to make the decision to either accept the world’s view or to trust God with His vision. We can either be driven by fear, gloom and doom in a world of pessimism and distrust, or we can stand on God’s Word with hope and confidence, knowing He’s still in control. It all boils down to asking yourself one question, “Whose report do you believe today?” Is your faith and trust in the world or the Creator of it?
I Peter 1:15-16 tells us, “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.’ ” In these Scriptures, Peter is quoting at least three different areas in Leviticus that all say the same thing…Be holy, because I am holy. The Lord is commanding us to reflect His holiness in our own lives, and as far as it’s possible…to live then a life with a pure heart and moral uprightness.
A Holy Spirit empowered ministry is bold and fearless. Psalm 138:3 says, “You made me bold and stout-hearted.” And this Scripture is so true…for under our own power we’re nothing but scaredy-cats. It’s the Holy Spirit that endows our soul, spirit, and self with confidence and courage. It’s the Holy Spirit that gives us the trust to place our total dependence and hope on God alone.
A Holy Spirit empowered ministry continues despite persecution. Now for most of us, the persecution we endure isn’t fear for our lives, but rather petty or cruel remarks made by anonymous people on social media that are just plain God haters. But when you’re bullied or intimidated for your faith it can still be frightening. The flesh wants to retreat, but the Holy Spirit within spurs us on, giving us the boldness to respond with grace and truth. Jesus tells us in Matthew 11:6, “Blessed is the man who does not fall away on account of Me.” The Lord is telling us…”Don’t give up! And don’t allow others to dictate your destiny in Me.”
When the Holy Spirit is deeply embedded in you and what you do, the Lord takes great delight. But you also need to remember that it’s about the people you touch, not about the things you think you need to accomplish. Projects are wonderful…outreach into the community, volunteer work, leading Bible Studies, etc. But they only become notches in your gun if that’s the sole reason you’re doing them. Sorry to say, but touching others for Christ isn’t about you at all. It’s about demonstrating God’s love in tangible ways to others and pointing them towards Jesus.
The Old Testament Prophet Isaiah also saw this vision in Isaiah 6:3. He saw the Lord on His throne with all the seraphs calling to one another, “Holy, holy, holy is the Lord Almighty; the whole earth is full of His glory.” These magnificent creatures are continually encircling God’s throne giving glory, honor, and thanks to the Lord…And just think, someday we too will be able to join in that glorious chorus!
We are to live in harmony with all. Not with just those we like…not with those who only believe as we do. No, we are to live in peaceful co-existence with everyone. Jesus came preaching the Gospel of Peace, not that of elitism, isolation, or hatred. It’s a tough road though to love your neighbor as yourself…for many around us are unlovable. That’s why the second part of this verse is so important. We may not be able to change the unlovable around us, but we can change ourselves and how we interact with them. Sanctification or holiness is the ongoing process of becoming more like Christ Jesus everyday…of looking at all people – even the unlovable- through His eyes.