This article contains some of my personal testimony and experience. As such, I did not use as much scripture as I normally do. It’s a little more “human interest” than I normally do. But it tells a little about what I learned concerning living a life of “Holiness”. SAA
Without a doubt the Bible commands us to “Be Ye Holy”. Consider these scriptures.
Lev 20:7 -8 Sanctify yourselves therefore, and be ye holy: for I am the LORD your God. 8 And ye shall keep my statutes, and do them: I am the LORD which sanctify you.
1Pe 1:15 – 16 But as he which hath called you is holy, so be ye holy in all manner of conversation; 16 Because it is written, Be ye holy; for I am holy.
I agree with many in regards to the fact that “holiness” can be confusing. I have been there. It can be confusing when we have so many saying this is “holiness” and that is “holiness”.
So let’s start with my background. I want to say that there should be no negative reflection upon anyone in my past. I made my decisions – no one else did. The devil didn’t make me do it – I did it.
As I share just a portion please remember that this is a reflection on who I was. Far greater than who I was is who God has made me today. It didn’t happen overnight as we need to understand that we do not grow up overnight. Some things took time with God so they are built right.
A Little Background
I did have a background in a holiness church. My family was introduced to holiness when I was 11 years old. When I was 14/15 we left the church and started going to different independent and denominational holiness churches.
Toward the end of my junior year in high school we moved from Florida to Maine. We attended different churches and my parents reached out to the youth in the community. There were no “holiness” churches available in the area.
However, it was not until March of 1984 that I prayed through and gave my life completely over to God.
It was a Friday night and it had been a long week in school. I had gone back to my barracks room, empty and alone, and contemplating whether life was worth living. I wasn’t suicidal: I was just wondering if life was worth living.
No one was there in the room. But I remembered the preaching and teaching I had heard as a teen. So I knelt by the side of my bunk and surrendered my life to God. I found the reason for living.
I prayed through and gave my life completely over to God. I was Born Again – I became a new creature in Christ.
I made the conscious decision to surrender completely to him every aspect of my life. It was during that night in prayer that God and I had this conversation.
I want you to consider this conversation because I think this this is important to who I am today in Christ.
Me – “God, I thank you for saving me and I truly want to serve you.” (I really did and still do.) “You know all the churches I have been in and I am unsure and confused about what I am supposed to do.” (I had quit going to church when I left home the summer of 1981.)
“God, I am not going to do or believe anything people tell me I have to do unless you can show it to me in your word.” (A little arrogant I know – but that is almost word for word what I told God.)
God’s Response – “OK. That’s good.”
Let me add a little commentary here.
Looking back – it was good. Without realizing it, as I didn’t know the scriptures, I had become just like the Berean’s.
Act 17:11 -12 These were more noble than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness of mind, and searched the scriptures daily, whether those things were so. 12 Therefore many of them believed; also of honourable women which were Greeks, and of men, not a few.
I didn’t commit to anything but my desire to be pleasing to God no matter what. However, with that desire to serve God, I was willing to do what God said I was to do. I just wanted it to be from God.
Where do we start?
With the command “Be Ye Holy“, there is an assumption made. That assumption is that you are born again.
If you are not truly saved, then living what you understand to be “holiness standards” is nothing more than being a good moral person. That’s great and you will live a good life, but you won’t make it to heaven.
You must be born again
You Must Know God
Many times we assume that because we prayed a sinners prayer, we are good for life. Not true.
We have to get to know God. It’s not just “someones” name we throw out there – I know so and so. We have to really get to know him so we can make this relationship work.
We really should be asking some questions about God and our relationship with Him.
- What’s He like?
- What does He require of me?
- Does He really care for me?
- What can He do for me?
- Can I trust God?
I can easily continue that list, but let me explain it this way.
When I met my wife, I wasn’t sure who she was really. She intrigued me. I was interested in learning more about her. What made her tick. Not just what is her favorite colors or foods. (Those are important but they can change according to the day of the week or month.)
I needed to know my wife’s character and personality so that I could have an idea of how she would respond and react to certain things I did or say. I even changed some of my behavior as those changes made gave her a higher opinion or view of me.
The same things apply to our relationship with God. We must build a relationship with Him. We may have to change our behavior so He has a higher opinion of us.
You Must Build A Relationship With God
Building a relationship with God is so vital in our lives. Especially when we are called to be Holy as God. How we perceive God and His holiness will directly influence how we will respond to the circumstances of life.
My wife and I dated long distance for a year. I saw her every second or third weekend. Otherwise it was letter writing and phone calls. This is in part how I got to know her, and how I keep knowing her today.
Our relationship with God is built much the same way.
- In calling my wife, it would be much like calling God in prayer.
- In writing and reading letters, it is much like reading a letter from God through our Bible.
- In seeing and visiting with my wife, it is comparable to attending church and meeting with God there.
I know this is an oversimplified example, yet if we are going to be Holy like God, then we need to know what His holiness is all about. We do this by knowing Him better.
It seems to have become popular these days to “avoid” going to church, or to use “virtual” church. I even question “mega” churches. (personal side comment which I will deal with later.)
With the recent COVID-19 Pandemic, I understand “missing” church. However, as believers we are to assemble together. It is so important to share what we have learned about God with each other and what God has done in our lives
It is one way we get to know Him better.
As my children got married and we got to know my daughter in laws and son in law, the stories that were shared by their families and friends helped me understand who my sons and daughter married.
The same is true with God. This is one of the ways we get to know who God is – through the sharing of experiences of others. This is why we need to assemble together.
In my view, prayer is one of the greatest ways to get to know God. Especially when done properly.
I also believe that many times prayer is abused and misused as a means of communicating with God. Many people use prayer as a way to try and order God to do something.
When we pray we need to ask God what His thoughts are and stop and listen to what He says.
Over the years I have found that my prayer life has become even more “questioning” or “reflective” than a “petition” in nature. The result is that I have seen God move in behalf of my petitions more than before. However, my petitions are in line with what I know about God.
Just like I wrote my wife (and FYI – I still write her love notes on occasion), God has written us a letter. In this letter God tells us all about himself.
This is why our Bible reading is so important. It is truly how God helps us get to know Him. It’s amazing to me that with over 36 years of reading the Bible, I still learn something new about God every time I open the pages and look.
Bible reading, prayer, and church attendance – they are not something we do because we have to. They are something we do because we love God so much we want to be with Him. This is our way to be with God.
I know a lot of people that do all of the above, but here is the most important part.
Do you obey what God says?
I am not talking about this standard or that standard. I am talking about something very simple, yet very profound. Here are the words of Jesus.
John 14:15 If ye love me, keep my commandments.
John 14:23 -24 Jesus answered and said unto him, If a man love me, he will keep my words: and my Father will love him, and we will come unto him, and make our abode with him. 24 He that loveth me not keepeth not my sayings: and the word which ye hear is not mine, but the Father’s which sent me.
It’s all about obeying God. He instructs us. He teaches us. He directs us in what we should or should not do. The final decision concerning obediance is yours.
God doesn’t force us to do anything. However, notice what we are told by James, the brother of Jesus.
James 4:17 Therefore to him that knoweth to do good, and doeth it not, to him it is sin.
So what does “Be Ye Holy” look like?
It starts with getting saved and accepting Jesus Christ, the son of God into your life.
It is followed by learning all you can about God and loving Him more than anything else in life.
It is by obeying everything he tells you do to when he tells you to do it.
There is much more I could say, but that is what these articles are for. As you read and go through our articles, I pray you will be willing to consider what you see and hear.
Look it up yourself and see if it is God speaking to you. Yes – it is OK to question and be sure of what God is saying. Those of Berea did.
Don’t be like the Thessalonians. Don’t cause strife and uprisings because you don’t like what you hear.
Whether we like it or not – each of us will one day stand before God and give an account for what we said, what we did, what we thought, and all the choices and decisions we made or ignored. We will be judged for our actions.
My God bless you and may you draw closer to Him.
1Peter 1:13 – 17 Wherefore gird up the loins of your mind, be sober, and hope to the end for the grace that is to be brought unto you at the revelation of Jesus Christ; 14 As obedient children, not fashioning yourselves according to the former lusts in your ignorance: 15 But as he which hath called you is holy, so be ye holy in all manner of conversation; 16 Because it is written, Be ye holy; for I am holy. 17 And if ye call on the Father, who without respect of persons judgeth according to every man’s work, pass the time of your sojourning here in fear: