by Sarah Lee Bryant
“Sanctify yourselves therefore,
and be ye holy: for I am the Lord your God.”
Be ye holy.
Sometimes this command overwhelms me in its extent of application in our lives. Our holy God has called you and I to live holy lives— to be dedicated, consecrated: set apart for the Lord.
What a command this is! — because we live in a culture that is completely opposed to holiness and drinks iniquity like water (Job 15:16). We face pressure from every side that promotes selfishness, commonality, worldliness, and sinful behavior. What the world has to offer can whittle away our value for purity, holiness, modesty, wholesome and God-honoring attitudes — and this worldliness attacks from all angles. We cannot avoid it altogether.
So…the question is: How do we live in this world, yet not conform to its ways (Romans 12:2)? This is a vast topic, but here are a few thoughts have been on my mind lately.
Holiness will only come in our lives when our eyes are upon the Lord Jesus.
As we keep our gaze upon the holy, perfect Son of God, we will be transformed.
“But we all, with open face beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord.”
(2 Corinthians 3:18)
As we all know, there are countless things each day that can distract us from this goal of focusing on the Lord. It requires discipline and a strong commitment to make the Lord the focus of our heart. It is a choice.
This entails reading God’s Word, meditating on it throughout the day, recalling it to mind in tempting situations, choosing to obey His will and trusting Him with the results…even in very difficult situations, when to our eyes of flesh, it looks like the choice of obedient faith will not “work.”
Choosing holiness is essentially a walk of faith.
God’s Word is full of rich, deep promises to His people— to those who will live set apart for Him. We must, in turn, choose to believe and act upon the promises of God. Romans 1:17 says “The just shall live by faith.” This is a willingness to walk in holiness before the Lord, sacrificing whatever is not holy and edifying, and trusting that God will come through on our behalf— that He will fulfill His promises.
Here are just a few of these precious promises that we should meditate on constantly (do your own study and write down the promises you find!):
- Psalm 34:10: “The young lions do lack, and suffer hunger: but they that seek the Lord shall not want any good thing.”
- 2 Corinthians 12:9: “And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness.”
- Joshua 1:5: “…I will not fail thee, nor forsake thee.”
- 2 Samuel 22:31: “As for God, his way is perfect; the word of the Lord is tried: he is a buckler to all them that trust in him.”
The book of Proverbs repeatedly contrasts the results of one who chooses to walk in godliness, with the foolish one who walks according to his own fleshly desires.
Sometimes, it is important to step back and be reminded of this: when God calls us to this path of holiness, it is one that will bring the most blessing, freedom, and lasting joy. We must never doubt that, no matter how attractive the world’s ways may seem. They bring only lasting destruction and sorrow.
As we meditate on truth and holiness, we will be able to detect the temptations and lies of the world.
It is easy for worldly ideologies to creep into our way of thinking…but NOT when we are guarding our minds vigilantly! Some thoughts that we may struggle with could be… My sister treats me so unfairly…I just can’t forgive her! I need to find something “big” to do or get a job to be important. I need to dress more attractively to be accepted. I’m just not important to anyone…does anyone even notice my life here at home? Will God ever truly reward me for the sacrifices I have made to serve Him? Well, Susie did ___, and she seems to be happy – maybe I should try it too!
However, when we are actively filling our mind with God’s truth, then we will be able to detect these thoughts as lies…lies that demonstrate a lack of faith. We are not to compare our choices and lives to others around us; we are to be distinct and consecrated to our Savior and to live for HIS pleasure. When we remember this, we realize how foolish these thoughts really are!
But when we fail to recognize these lies as sinful lies, then we start to actually believe that they are true. We start to value different things. Our standards will change accordingly. This is the progression of compromise. Therefore, this is why is so vitally important that we guard our minds with all diligence.
“Keep thy heart with all diligence;
for out of it are the issues of life.”
So when we encounter the world’s lies or these thoughts pop into our minds, we are to cast them away (Philippians 4:8) — turning to a promise in Scripture. This battle of the mind is where the battleground of our Christianity — of holiness — is fought.
To fight this battle, we must be gird with the whole armor of God, so that we will be able to withstand the evilness of our day.
“Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places. Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand. Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth, and having on the breastplate of righteousness; And your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace; Above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked. And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.”
Let us never think that apart from the power of God, we can walk in holiness. It is only by His grace, strength, and mercy that we will be equipped to obey Him — come what may. So while we set our face like flint to do what is pleasing before the Lord, let us do so desperately clinging to the One Who calls us to holiness — and Who alone can equip us for the battle!
“For the Lord God will help me; therefore shall I not be confounded: therefore have I set my face like a flint, and I know that I shall not be ashamed.”
His ways are peace and truth, so let us walk by faith, choosing His ways!
I’d love to hear how the Lord is encouraging you as you walk in His ways. How do you refute doubts and lies? What Scriptures verses strengthen you? Please comment below!
Photography by Jenny S.
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