Tag: Holiness

A Growing Desire to Be Holy

Jim Cymbala90x115by Jim Cymbala

Holy, separated living isn’t preached about much anymore because we fear it might offend and not be visitor-friendly. But when the Spirit starts his work, we will always have a new desire for holiness and a quest for Christlikeness. “As obedient children, do not conform to the evil desires you had when you lived in ignorance. 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’” (1 Peter 1:14-16).

The word holy speaks of separation and purity. It must be important to God, for he tells us that “without holiness no one will see the Lord” (Hebrews 12:14). Holiness is not a list of do’s and don’ts; rather, it is Christlikeness. As the Spirit works, we will have an increased desire to be holy like Christ. What else would the Holy Spirit do but impart his own nature into our lives?

Once we trust Christ for salvation, God will begin to mold and shape us. Many experience a radical change when they first come to know Christ, but over time a battle between the flesh and the Spirit takes place. The apostle Paul wrote, “For the flesh desires what is contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit what is contrary to the flesh. They are in conflict with each other, so that you are not to do whatever you want” (Galatians 5:17). Paul was writing to the saints in Galatia, but he acknowledged that they, like him, had to overcome a carnal undertow from inside that pulled against the Spirit’s purposes.

Paul was not the only one who cautioned about sinful practices in the lives of believers. John reminded us of this truth: “My dear children, I write this to you so that you will not sin. But if anybody does sin, we have an Advocate with the Father—Jesus Christ, the Righteous One” (1 John 2:1). John’s intention was plain — to inspire God’s people not to practice unrighteousness but to practice Christlike living. The Holy Spirit brings new sensitivity and conviction to us if we are really living under his control. Behavior, words, and attitudes that are unholy cause a reaction from the Spirit, who is holy.

When you surrender your life to Christ, the Holy Spirit will lovingly send out cautions, warnings, and red alerts to keep you following his example.

by Jim Cymbala

Reconciling Yourself to the Fact of Sin

Oswald Chambersby Oswald Chambers

This is your hour, and the power of darkness. —Luke 22:53

Not being reconciled to the fact of sin— not recognizing it and refusing to deal with it— produces all the disasters in life. You may talk about the lofty virtues of human nature, but there is something in human nature that will mockingly laugh in the face of every principle you have. If you refuse to agree with the fact that there is wickedness and selfishness, something downright hateful and wrong, in human beings, when it attacks your life, instead of reconciling yourself to it, you will compromise with it and say that it is of no use to battle against it. Have you taken this “hour, and the power of darkness” into account, or do you have a view of yourself which includes no recognition of sin whatsoever? In your human relationships and friendships, have you reconciled yourself to the fact of sin? If not, just around the next corner you will find yourself trapped and you will compromise with it. But if you will reconcile yourself to the fact of sin, you will realize the danger immediately and say, “Yes, I see what this sin would mean.” The recognition of sin does not destroy the basis of friendship— it simply establishes a mutual respect for the fact that the basis of sinful life is disastrous. Always beware of any assessment of life which does not recognize the fact that there is sin.

Jesus Christ never trusted human nature, yet He was never cynical nor suspicious, because He had absolute trust in what He could do for human nature. The pure man or woman is the one who is shielded from harm, not the innocent person. The so-called innocent man or woman is never safe. Men and women have no business trying to be innocent; God demands that they be pure and virtuous. Innocence is the characteristic of a child. Any person is deserving of blame if he is unwilling to reconcile himself to the fact of sin.

by Oswald Chambers