Holiness, Holiness is What I Long For…

1 Peter 1:15-16

“But now you must be holy in everything you do, just as God–who chose you to be His children–is holy. For He Himself has said, “You must be holy because I am holy.”

I have a passion for living a holy life.  I give it my all everyday to do the things God has required of me and to stay away from the things I know are not pleasing to God. I have been called legalistic. I have been called “holier than thou.” But, at the end of the day, I only have to answer to One person, and that is the Lord, Jesus Christ, so as long as I feel that I please Him, it is worth it. I am called to be set apart for His purposes, not my own, not my family’s, not my friends’.

Holiness is a commandment from the Lord. It is not a request or a suggestion. If we say that He is LORD, then we must obey His commandments. It hurts me to see Christians living lives that are contrary to what God requires of us. God commands holiness for our protection, for our good, He knows best.

I fail all the time. I make mistakes and the Holy Spirit convicts me. We are all sinners, saved by grace, but we should never take advantage of God’s grace. In Romans 6:1-2, Paul asks, ” What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin, that grace may abound?” He answers his own question with an emphatic,  “God forbid. How shall we, that are dead to sin, live any longer in it?”

I think that since  1 Peter, tells us, “…now you must be holy in everything you do”, we need to take a look at the “everything” in our lives. Here are a few areas that come to mind for my life:

  • My conversations (Am I gossiping? Am I speaking kind words of encouragement or harsh words of criticism to my poor husband who has worked 14 hours and is exhausted?)
  • My thoughts (Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy–meditate on these things. Phil 4:8)
  • My actions (towards my husband, family, friends and those I come in contact with, whether on a daily basis or when I am out-and-about during my day)
  • My choice in friends (Do not be deceived: “Evil company corrupts good habits.” 1 Cor. 15:33 – am I pointing my unsaved friends to Christ, or acting just like them because I fear their ridicule or rejection?)
  • How I dress (Do I consider my dress worship to the Lord?)
  • How I spend my time (Turn off the TV!!!!!!!!! Spend some time with the Lord!)
  • The media I take in 

We will have to take a side note for this one! Most of you who know me know that this is a HUGE thing for me. This may step on some toes, but I feel it needs to be said. What kind of things are portrayed in PG13 and R rated (and even some PG rated) movies, most primetime TV shows or most pop music?  Profanity, sexuality, nudity, strong violence, horror, the Lord’s Name taken in vain. Some may say when they are telling me about a “great” new movie or show, “It’s not THAT bad.” Argh! That turns my stomach! Some people say that they can watch some of the things I listed above and it doesn’t affect them. I heard a really great analogy about letting even a little sin into our thoughts and hearts.

A father of some teenage children had the family rule that they could not attend PG-13 or R rated movies. His three teens wanted to see a particular popular movie that was playing at local theaters. It was rated PG-13. The teens interviewed friends and even some members of their family’s church to find out what was offensive in the movie. The teens made a list of pros and cons about the movie to use to convince their dad that they should be allowed to see it.

The con’s were that it contained ONLY 3 swear words, the ONLY violence was a building exploding (and you see that on TV all the time they said), and you actually did not “see” the couple in the movie having sex – it was just implied sex, off camera.
The pros were that it was a popular movie – a block buster. Everyone was seeing it. If the teens saw the movie then they would not feel left out when their friends discussed it. The movie contained a good story and plot. It had some great adventure and suspense in it. There were some fantastic special effects in this movie. The movie’s stars were some of the most talented actors in Hollywood. It probably would be nominated for several awards. Many of the members of their Christian church had even seen the movie and said it wasn’t “very bad”. Therefore, since there were more pros than cons the teens said they were asking their father to reconsider his position on just this ONE movie and let them have permission to go see it.
 
The father looked at the list and thought for a few minutes. He said he could tell his children had spent some time and thought on this request. He asked if he could have a day to think about it before making his decision. The teens were thrilled thinking; “Now we’ve got him! Our argument is too good! Dad can’t turn us down!” So, they happily agreed to let him have a day to think about their request.
 
The next evening the father called in his three teenagers, who were smiling smugly, into the living room. There on the coffee table he had a plate of brownies. The teens were puzzled. The father told his children he had thought about their request and had decided that if they would eat a brownie then he would let them go to the movie. But just like the movie, the brownies had pros and cons.
 
The pros were that they were made with the finest chocolate and other good ingredients. They had the added special effect of yummy walnuts in them. The brownies were moist and fresh with wonderful chocolate frosting on top. He had made these fantastic brownies using an award-winning recipe. And best of all, the brownies had been made lovingly by the hand of their own father.
 
The brownies only had one con. The father had included a little bit of a special ingredient. The brownies also contained just a little bit of dog poop. But he had mixed the dough well – they probably would not even be able to taste the dog poop and he had baked it at 350 degrees so any bacteria or germs from the dog poop had probably been destroyed. Therefore, if any of his children could stand to eat the brownies which included just a “little bit of crap” and not be effected by it, then he knew they would also be able to see the movie with “just a little bit of smut” and not be effected. Of course, none of the teens would eat the brownies and the smug smiles had left their faces.
 
Only Dad was smiling smugly as they left the room. Now when his teenagers ask permission to do something he is opposed to the father just asks, “Would you like me to whip up a batch of my special brownies?”
Author Unknown
 
So, this is a funny little story. I have heard pastors tell it from the pulpit and everyone chuckles. I personally think it is one of the most powerful stories about Christians and media I have ever heard.
 
I long to be holy because I love the Lord so much. He gave up his life for me on a cross, so that I would be able to live in freedom, never fearing death.  He not only saved me from hell, but he cleansed me from all unrighteousness!! I can cry out to Him every moment of every day and He will be there to encourage me, counsel me, comfort me. I owe Him my life. And I intend to give it to Him, whether it is comfortable for me or not, whether I “miss out” on things, whether people (even Christians) say I am too conservative,  or whether I understand what He is doing in my life or not. He is my LORD and I will obey Him.
 
I pray this blog entry has prompted you to look at the “everything” of your life and ask the Holy Spirit to examine it. May this be our daily prayer – “Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my thoughts. Point out anything in me that offends you, and lead me along the path of everlasting life.”
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