Isaiah 35:8 “And an highway shall be there, and a way, and it shall be called The way of holiness; the unclean shall not pass over it; but it shall be for those: the wayfaring men, though fools, shall not err therein.”
When I hear the word ‘holiness’, I think of many things.
There is the holiness movement in churches.
It conjures thoughts of sinless perfection; striving to be clean, pure, moral and holy.
But, when I think of it in its simplest form, there can only be One who is holy, and that is God. If you and I were to try to be holy in the flesh, we would fail miserably. Because I live in this body of sinful flesh, everything I touch becomes tainted.
As a child of God, we are commanded:
1 Peter 1:15-16 “But as he which hath called you is holy, so be ye holy in all manner of conversation; Because it is written, Be ye holy; for I am holy.”
So, how can we do what is seemingly impossible in the flesh?
If the One who is holy touches my life and lives His holiness through me, He can be holy in and through me.
Galatians 2:20 “I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me.”
As the Christian life is interactive, I must do my part. This world thrusts before us so many things that cause our minds to traverse far from the way of holiness.
Every day, our eyes and ears are assaulted with sights and sounds that draw us to the carnal. The 30 second breaks between portions of a television show are used to advertise. In those thirty seconds, you and I have learned more wickedness, seen more nudity, heard ungodly music; that we would be shocked at the accumulated tally.
There is not a Hollywood movie today, that does not break any of the ten commandments. It would literally shock us to count up the amount of times a movie will take God’s name in vain, curse, lie, cheat, steal, portray adultery, portray the abominable as acceptable, show nudity, disobedience to parents and authority… and we laugh as our eyes and ears drink it all in.
When we are familiar with the way of holiness, seeing those things; hearing those things; will cause us to be repulsed by the dirtiness and the filthiness of it all. But when we allow the constant bombardment of such things to be commonplace, we grow numb and unaffected by the worldly, carnal, impure, unclean things that taint our soul and make us a clogged vessel in need of cleansing.
When we partake in these things regularly, it becomes nothing to look around and see others tainted with the same dirt and think nothing of the state of our soul. But when someone who desires holiness and to live cleanly comes; we think them judgmental, critical, and condescending.
Usually, when you turn the light on in a room, those who hate the light will scatter to hide themselves. When we are exposed to the truth of who we are and what it is we are called to be, we are given a choice.
I can either run and hide because I regard the sin of my heart more than the cleansing the blood of Jesus Christ offers. Or, I can come like David did in Psalms 51:
Psalms 51:2-4 “Wash me throughly from mine iniquity, and cleanse me from my sin. For I acknowledge my transgressions: and my sin is ever before me. Against thee, thee only, have I sinned, and done this evil in thy sight: that thou mightest be justified when thou speakest, and be clear when thou judgest.”
David saw himself without excuse for what he did; acknowledging his responsibility for what he did and confessing to God what He already knew. David wanted to be absolutely clear that it was him alone standing to take what he deserved for what he did.
The way of holiness begins there; with the acknowledgment of who we are before a holy God. There will be no way for me to see that outside of the Word of God. Through my eyes, I will compromise sin and be accepting of something less than holy.
“I’m not that bad”
“God takes me as I am” you might say. But His desire is not to leave you that way! The transforming power of the blood of Jesus Christ to forgive is a miraculous thing in and of itself! But when Jesus moved in, I became a new creature in Christ!
2 Corinthians 5:17 “Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.”
I have found that in the 28 years I have been saved, the way of holiness is a progressive journey. It is not some magic wand, waved over my life that ‘poof’; now I’m holy. No, it is God coming and saying that my speech needs to be cleaned up.
1 Peter 1:15 “But as he which hath called you is holy, so be ye holy in all manner of conversation;”
Then, He comes to me about my thought life.
Philippians 4:8 “Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things arehonest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.”
Because I have been given a free will, God will not force me to do anything. Yet, I often feel compelled by tthe Holy Spirit to move forward and grow. I must have a determined spirit to want holiness. David revealed a bit of his heart when he wrote:
Psalms 101:2-3 “I will behave myself wisely in a perfect way. O when wilt thou come unto me? I will walk within my house with a perfect heart. I will set no wicked thing before mine eyes: I hate the work of them that turn aside; it shall not cleave to me.”
I have had to confess to God that I like my sin; it is pleasurable to me. Then the Spirit of God comes and convicts me:
James 1:14-15 “But every man is tempted, when he is drawn away of his own lust, and enticed. Then when lust hath conceived, it bringeth forth sin: and sin, when it is finished, bringeth forth death.”
Death to cleanliness. Death to the closeness in my relationships. Death to God’s presence. Death to my usefulness in His service. Death to my desire for anything godly. It is not like a gunshot that violently rips through our flesh. It is a slow, often painless numbing that deadens my spirit to the things of God.
“I don’t feel like going to church”
I don’t feel like reading my bible”
I don’t feel like telling others about salvation in Jesus Christ”
Holiness is NOT a feeling.
It is a determined effort to humble myself to first be cleansed of that which God convicts me.
Then, it is submission to obey what it is He desires for my life. It is not walking through the heavenly buffet line; picking and choosing what it is we want to do for God. It is receiving orders to go, to do and to be what it is He desires of me.
I am holy because of Who it is that lives inside me.
I am holy because of Who it is that lives His life through me.
I continue in that path of holiness because I determine to guard my eyes and my ears and have in readiness a revenge for any and all disobedience.
2 Corinthians 10:5-6 “Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ; And having in a readiness to revenge all disobedience, when your obedience is fulfilled.”
I cannot and will not do this on my own. It must be God through me.
I leave you with this image: I picture my path of holiness as me walking alongside God; hand in hand as He shows me what it is He wants me to do and where it is He wants me to go. Along that path, He asks for me to give Him my heart. When I do, I watch as He speaks words I could not, gives as I could not; loves as I cannot and lives as I would not.
Give God the glory for the things He has taken from you. But moreover, praise Him for the things He has done in and through you that only He can do!