I have a desire to see Christians living holy lives. When God called Abraham, He said, “Walk before me and be blameless. I am the Lord your God.”
Holiness. It is not an easy subject to address when it has so many bad connotations. However, if Abraham was called to be blameless, and the Bible also states, “Be holy, as I [God] am holy,” then we as Christians also need to live holy lives. (Leviticus 19:2 is speaking to Israelites, but in the New Testament believers are also to live differently from the world, so it also applies to all Christians.)
I don’t want to be thought of as “holier than thou.” Rather, I want to constantly be growing, and seeing others around me also growing in holiness. What is holiness? It’s Christ-likeness. It’s not perfect living according to other’s standards. It’s measuring oneself against Christ, and continually seeking to live more and more in line with His Word, actions, and ways.
In reality, when one becomes a Christian, and becomes more and more like Christ, every area of life is touched. It might be speech, dress, attitudes, television shows one watches, a way one responds to their spouse or other family member, taming the temper, etc. No area of life is unaffected with God’s constant refinement.
A friend and I were talking the other day, and we happened to be discussing television shows and purity. My friend gave a great illustration which she’d heard. Please allow me to attempt to retell it as well as she did.
A couple of teenagers asked their dad for permission to go to an R rated show. The father asked why it was rated R, and the eager teens responded that it only had a bit of language, a bit of nudity, and a bit of violence. They pleaded with their dad, explaining that only a bit of these improper things were in the show, and it wouldn’t harm them. The father came up with an idea. He decided to bake brownies for his children. When he pulled them out of the oven, they looked and smelled delicious. However, the dad didn’t cut into the brownies. The kids soon asked why he hadn’t cut the brownies, and asked if they could have some. Of course they were given permission. However, the dad didn’t just walk away. He casually mentioned that they only had a tiny bit of dog poo in them, but it really wouldn’t hurt them. Yes, help yourselves to the brownies kids! They got the message. A tiny bit of poo ruined the desirability of the brownies.
The same is true of holiness. A small understanding of holiness can ruin the attraction of the life lived in worldly ways. However, the reverse is proportionately oversized. A tiny bit of worldliness, or anything impure before a Holy God, is capable of major damage. Pastor Chip Ingram once noted that if you want to observe what offends a Holy God take a week, or even a month, away from all forms of media and use the time instead for Bible reading, worship music, and prayer. When you get back to that favorite morning talk show, you might be a tad more offended too.
Let’s strive together towards holiness. Let’s encourage one another on. However, let’s also take God at His word. He is able to present us before Himself blameless in body, soul, and spirit! Press on!