Holiness and our wills

 Philippians 2:13   for it is God who works in you both to will and to do for [His] good pleasure.

  “…we must learn how to bring our wills into submission and obedience to the will of God on a practical, daily, hour by hour basis….”  Pursuit of Holiness, Jerry Bridges.

Understanding what makes up our will, what influences our will, that it is primarily responsible for our choices is necessary.  Before a decision is made, thought is engaged, reason is engaged, and feelings/emotions are engaged.  The statement; “I feel ….” is made.  The statement; “I think…,” is made.  So what is in our minds and hearts, our desires and what we listen to or watch is going to have a lot of influence on what we choose.  

We then must be careful what goes into our minds and hearts.  Are we filling up on the Word of God or TV?  Are we listening for His voice or to the voices of our friends and relatives?  Do we think on and meditate on what we read in His Word, or in the news or magazines, or on the Internet?  We are surrounded by messages brought to us through many mediums.  We can shut out much of it if we choose.  We must consciously disregard that which we have no control over. 

To combat the influence brought upon us unasked and out of our control, we need to fill up on the Voice of God heard through his messengers and  the reading and study of the Word.  Fill up the spaces, think on and reflect upon His message rather than that handed to us by the world-system.

 Our responsibility  outlined in scripture:

 Romans 6:19  I speak in human [terms] because of the weakness of your flesh. For just as you presented your members [as] slaves of uncleanness, and of lawlessness [leading] to [more] lawlessness, so now present your members [as] slaves [of] righteousness for holiness.

Prior to salvation our minds were self-centered.  We based our decisions upon our desires as we felt and following the world-system mind set.  We were primarily concerned with what was good for us based upon our own understanding.  

Romans 12:2   And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.

Following  salvation, our minds are now taking on the mind of Christ.  Now we ask first, what do you want me to do?  Our focus is on His mind set, not on our self-centeredness.  Colossians 3:1-2   If then you were raised with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ is, sitting at the right hand of God.Set your mind on things above, not on things on the earth.

What is good for the kingdom of God takes priority. 

James 4:7-8   Therefore submit to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you.     Draw near to God and He will draw near to you. Cleanse [your] hands, [you] sinners; and purify [your] hearts, [you] double-minded.

Our daily living then becomes purposeful, not mindless.  We don’t just follow a routine but consciously set our minds to do the will of God.  We purpose to do everything; brush your teeth, wash your face, etc. with our mind set on Him and the question, “What can I do for you?” 

I challenge you to begin everyday and then every task with the question directed toward God, “What can I do for you?”  When stirred to reach out to others ask, “What can I do for you?”  Your focus will turn upward and outward, rather than inward.  Opportunities will come your way, you will be blessed with doing the work of the Father for the kingdom rather than for yourself.  In this we can be found faithful.

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Holiness in the body

This is a departure from the usual take on these verses.  What do you think?

  A prudent [man] foresees evil [and] hides himself; The simple pass on [and] are punished.

Proverbs 27:12

The wise see evil ahead and remove themselves from the place of temptation.  They leave!  The unwise stay and fall victim, then receive the consequences for their inaction.

 

If I see a situation is tempting me to do something I prefer not to thanks to the Spirit’s prompting, I leave.  One area is gossip in the workplace.  Many times I walk away rather than participate.  Sometimes I’m not so wise and engage in the conversation only to experience the conviction later.  Sometimes the words that are spoken come back to haunt me.

Romans 13:14  

But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh, to [fulfill its] lusts.

Spend time in the Word, get to know Jesus so you can emulate him.  Provide sustenance for the spirit’s growth, not for the carnal nature. 

 

Where is my time spent?  In the word or satisfying selfish desires.  Trading time to play games rather than study the word, would be one example.  A constant battle to achieve a balance that pleases the spirit not the flesh.  Another would be other media entertainment or outside entertainment.  The point is to not give up time in the Word for time in entertainment of any type.  The point is not the avoidance of all play, where is the emphasis?, the focus, the desire?

2 Timothy 2:22  

Flee also youthful lusts; but pursue righteousness, faith, love, peace with those who call on the Lord out of a pure heart.

Lets see, youthful lusts:  the “me” time of life, what serves my purpose, putting others down, scuffling over what I want and often turns to words that are hurtful and blows, more concerned if I am first, focus on what happens to me.  My students provide a good picture of this.  They struggle with preferring others, saying only kind words, not bragging.

 

So in my life, I still have struggles with a large ‘me’ complex.  When stories are shared, I must insert mine rather than just listen and enjoy and encourage.  Fear can enter quickly as in driving in the snow rather than having faith that God has protected me, is protecting me and will protect me.  Loving those who rub you the wrong way.  There are those at work who seem to constantly say things that are disparaging, or seemingly disrespectful.  On closer examination, they are not maliciously maligning, they are used by the enemy to create offense in us.  This is my struggle. 

 

Therefore do not let sin reign in your mortal body, that you should obey it in its lusts.

 

And do not present your members [as] instruments of unrighteousness to sin, but present yourselves to God as being alive from the dead, and your members [as] instruments of righteousness to God.

Romans 6:12-13

Holiness in the body is putting yourself last.  The closer we get to the Lord, the more we know Him, the more we love Him and our desires become His.  When I give in to what I want to do to satisfy my own desires whatever they may be, use of time is most basic, I am once again putting myself under the law and subject to the wages of sin is death.  When I am focused and driven by what He wants I am operating in freedom.  It doesn’t mean doing without, it means being in touch with his will in my life.

God is Holy

Zec 8:17 Let none of you think evil in your [fn] heart against your neighbor; And do not love a false oath. For all these [are things] that I hate,’ Says the LORD.”

We are called to be holy as God is holy.  God hates evil and so should we.  If we hate evil we cannot participate in evil.

1Sa 13:13 And Samuel said to Saul, “You have done foolishly. You have not kept the commandment of the LORD your God, which He commanded you. For now the LORD would have established your kingdom over Israel forever.
1Sa 13:14 But now your kingdom shall not continue. The LORD has sought for Himself a man after His own heart, and the LORD has commanded him [to be] commander over His people, because you have not kept what the LORD commanded you.”

God is holy.  The consequence for not obeying God is given here.  Saul was picked by God, serving God but he disobeyed.

Psa 51:4 Against You, You only, have I sinned, And done [this] evil in Your sight– That You may be found just when You speak, [fn] [And] blameless when You judge.

When we participate in sin,  against a neighbor, loved one, family, we are doing so against God.

Rom 6:14 For sin shall not have dominion over you, for you are not under law but under grace

God loved us so much He sent His son and when we accept the sacrifice of Jesus we are covered by His blood and can be reunited with God.  He can look upon us.  For that gift alone we should be driven to avoid all sin in our lives.  We should strive to be like Him.  We should acquire the same distaste for evil that He has.

What is holiness? Why holiness?

Leviticus 11:44,45 repeats twice the command to “be holy because I am holy.” Jesus states in Matthew and John that men are cleansed or defiled by the thoughts of their hearts and God will be worshipped wherever men seek Him in spirit and in truth. So I must be holy, it is a command and to be holy I must understand what holy is. In studying what has been written and looking at the definition of holy as it is used in the Old Testament, (Hebrew kodesh) and in the New Testament (Greek hagios) I find the following words reappearing consistently.

Separation, ethics, purity, consecrated, contrite, humble, conduct. Separation as in separating something from common use to dedicated use. Ethics as in a manner of action that is in total obedience regardless of the degree. Purity as in focus on things of God and not of self. Consecrated as in dedicated. Contrite and humble as in clearly understanding ones position in relation to the Creator. Conduct as in responsibility on my part, the part of mankind.

To put that into action I must place my focus on the Lord. I must become ‘obsessed’ with Him. I must see everything as an act of obedience to His Word. I will need an attitude change, from self-centered to God-centered. I will need to pick up my responsibility to act according to His Word. Therefore I will need to know His Word. I will need to assess every thought and action and see if it is obedient to His Will and I can know His Will by knowing His Word.

Obedience is obedience, not in degrees. In Eden there was plenty to eat, the tree wasn’t needed. The point was obeying the command to not eat from that tree. Knowledge of good and evil came about with the introduction of evil to contrast with the good. Disobedience brought sin. Disobedience is sin and all sin is disobedience. If I wish to be holy as He is holy, I must obey Him, the One who is holy. I must strive to be like Him.

I must become immersed in His Word.