Some years back, my husband and I were having a discussion on a passage of scripture and he quoted a verse. I don’t remember the context of the discussion, but when he quoted it, he said something like “The Bible says Be holy, for I am holy. “And being the docile wife that I am, I replied “It does not!” Needless to say, I was proved wrong very quickly. That discussion rocked my world.
I don’t know where I picked up this idea, but sometime in my life, I had come to the conclusion that since the flesh still very much dwells in me, I was pretty much excluded from perfection until, you know, death. Therefore, if it was something unattainable, why try? (Which, sadly enough, is one of my life philosophies that I am trying to eradicate from my thought processes.) So finding that the Bible commanded me to be holy, was shocking. I mean, I can’t be holy, especially not as He is holy! Right? Apparently not right. Because no matter how hard I tried, how much a searched and studied, there is no Greek clause added to this phrase that somehow makes it say “Try to be holy, for I am Holy”.
Suddenly all the sinful habits that I had that made up my character (yikes!!) were things that I absolutely had to get rid of. Not try to get rid of, but get rid of once and for all. And the more that I studied it, the more I realized that this is not only a command, holy living, it is a proof of genuine salvation. It has been a rough few years, but I have found out why, for so long, I was an unhappy, defeated Christian. When I lived as if holiness was merely an option, I seldom choose it. And a Christian living in known sin is a miserable person.
Let me say that again.
A Christian living in known sin is a miserable person.
That statement had really opened my eyes to see the root causes behind the “bad days” that I have!
Recently, a very good friend of mine gave me a book to read, Holiness by J.C. Ryle. I found an online study guide, which if I ever get ink for my printer, I am going to print out and use. It is slow reading because it takes a while to thoroughly digest all that he has to say. Here is a bit of it, to wet your appetite.
This is taken from his chapter entitled Holiness. I am omitting a lot and just posting the barest of outlines. Please read on…
First then, let me try to show what true practical holiness is: what sort of persons are those whom God calls holy?
a. Holiness is the habit of being of one mind with God, according as we find His mind described in Scripture. It is the habit of agreeing in God’s judgment, hating what He hates, loving what He loves, and measuring everything in this world by the standard of His Word. He who most entirely agrees with God, he is the most holy man.
b. A holy man will endeavor to shun every known sin and to keep every known commandment.
c. A holy man will strive to be like our Lord Jesus Christ. He will not only live the life of faith in Him and draw from Him all his daily peace and strength, but he will also labor to have the mind that was in Him and to be conformed to His image (Rom. 8:29).
d. A holy man will follow after meekness, patience, gentleness, patience, kind tempers, government of his tongue. He will bear much, forbear much, overlook much and be slow to talk of standing on his rights.
e. A holy man will follow after temperance and self–denial.
f. A holy man will follow after charity and brotherly kindness. He will endeavor to observe the golden rule of doing as he would have men do to him and speaking as he would have men speak to him.
g. A holy man will follow after a spirit of mercy and benevolence towards others. He will not stand all the day idle. He will not be content with doing no harm; he will try to do good.
h. A holy man will follow after purity of heart. He will dread all filthiness and uncleanness of spirit, and seek to avoid all things that might draw him into it.
i. A holy man will follow after the fear of God. I do not mean the fear of a slave, who only works because he is afraid of punishment and would be idle if he did not dread discovery. I mean rather the fear of a child, who wishes to live and move as if he was always before his father’s face, because he loves him.
j. A holy man will follow after humility. He will desire, in lowliness of mind, to esteem all others better than himself.
k. A holy man will follow after faithfulness in all the duties and relations in life. He will try, not merely to fill his place as well as others who take no thought for their souls, but even better, because he has higher motives and more help than they.
l. Last, but not least, a holy man will follow after spiritual–mindedness. He will endeavor to set his affections entirely on things above and to hold things on earth with a very loose hand. He will not neglect the business of the life that now is; but the first place in his mind and thoughts will be given to the life to come.
I love this!! It is so practical, taken directly from the Word. What a picture this is for all of us who claim to follow Christ. In the book, he deals with how we fall short and what that means to our obedience. I strongly recommend this book.
Lastly, I was wondering what you, my blog friend, do in the way of a plan to read your bible. I mentioned that I am reading Professor Horner’s method, which is proving very interesting. I am also going to add the reading of an epistle with the kids. I am thinking that Philippians will be a good choice to begin with.