Thursday, April 23, 2009

Is Holiness a Forgettable Subject?

This past week I gave a talk on holiness. You can listen to the talk here.

In my day to day interaction with people I encounter so much self-centeredness that I was not looking forward to giving the talk, though I thought God wanted me to, because I didn’t think that anyone would take it seriously. I presumed that most would dismiss God’s call to holiness by mentally categorizing it as a lofty ideal but not a practical pursuit.

So, I began my remarks by saying, “I’m giving a very forgettable talk today.” Surprisingly I’ve had more post-Sunday engagement about the topic of holiness than any other topic I’ve addressed in a long time. I’m wondering if the post-Sunday conversations and emails are psychologically related to my declaring that it would all be forgettable and therefore listeners determined that they wouldn’t forget it, OR, if the continued engagement is because Christ followers truly want lives of holiness?

What do you think? Because of the nature of my follow-up communications I’m choosing to believe that there is a legitimate desire (I pray hunger) for holiness.

Consequently I’m posting some of my remarks for readers that did not attend last Sunday’s gathering and for those that did and might appreciate reminders about some of the specifics.

Holiness refers to anything and everything that belongs to God. The Holy Spirit is God’s Spirit. The Holy Bible is God’s book of revelation and self-disclosure. The holy temple was God’s place of dwelling with and meeting with His people. I made the case that Jesus’ cleansing of the temple (Luke 19:45) was a picture of the attention we need to give to our lives since my body and your body are now the holy temple of God (1 Corinthians 3:16). We need to “drive out” anything and everything that compromises the holiness of our lives. A holy life is a life that is consecrated and given to God for God’s pleasure and for God’s use.

How does one live a holy and pure life?
· Live as a follower of Christ. No one ever lived life with greater holiness than Jesus. If you follow His ways and example you will live in holiness.
· Live intentionally. So much of our lives are lived on “auto-pilot”. We don’t think about what we do and why we do it. Why are you married? Why are in school? Why do you do the work you do? Why have you been given the relationships that you have? Why do you have the abilities and talents that you have?
· Live in community. I am best able to keep and maintain holiness when I am living in relationship with a group of other people that are likewise living with intentionality as followers of Christ.
· Live with wisdom. Engrave it on your heart that holiness is what makes life work well. Unholiness kills and destroys life. Unholiness is deceptive and untrue. Unholiness is NOT where all the fun and excitement is.
· Live prayerfully. Ask God daily, ask God moment by moment and situation by situation to make your life holy. If you stumble and fall and commit sin or unholiness, pray and ask God to forgive you and start holiness working in you again. David prayed to God, “create in me a clean heart, renew a right spirit within me.”

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