Raising kids. Keeping House. Choosing joy, every day.

Today’s Christian Woman: Distinctly Unholy?

Every Christian woman wants to hear and read books about being highly effective, being fulfilled as a person, finding your purpose and and being relevant in today’s society. But one topic that we are not clamoring to read about is personal holiness.
 
We’ve all been turned off by someone who thought they were acting “holy” when in fact they were just plain judgmental and critical making mountains out of what they thought was mountain-making-worthy. They are self appointed “police”–they figure, if I point out all your flaws, nobody will have time to notice my obvious flaws. (Note: truly holy people are so worried about their own sin that they have very little time to point out your.)
 
Or perhaps you are still reeling from the damage of a childhood spent in a works centered religion, where people zealously pointed out others “sins” like there was a reward for it, or you grew up in a works-centered Catholic home or a misguided fundamentalist work. Remember that that is not holiness.
No, 

“To be holy in our own strength and for our own glory is to be distinctly unholy.”

 
We’ve believed a lie about personal holiness. We’ve believed several lies actually. 
We’ve bought into the idea that holiness equals a
  • joyless,
  • secluded,
  • stiff,
  • puritanical,
  • disapproving lifestyle.
We may not verbalize it, but we act as though the world with it’s pleasures offers real joy. We relish our sin and keep returning to it as a dog returns to his own vomit.
It concerns me as I look around at the landscape of today’s Christian woman. Instead of getting better and better, we seem to have lost our moral compass and have embraced a distinctly unholy lifestyle. Oh, I don’t mean that we’d verbalize this, or that our public confession would be such, but that very few women are really concerned about their own personal holiness. And we are raising younger Christian women (who have learned from their mothers) who are now looking for fulfillment in the worthless and seem enamored by the world. 
 
They do not value God’s word as THE guide for life, a most precious love letter. They don’t see their relationship to God as paramount. There seems to be this justification of “living on the edge” and “acting like the world.” If we look like the world, respond like the world, love what the world loves, embrace what the world embraces and spend our time, energy, money on these lesser things, who will be salt and light to the world? And why do we wonder that the church lacks “power”? The church lacks power when the church leaders and God’s people are unholy and unsurrendered and they don’t even know it. 
 

THE TRUTH: holiness and joy go hand in hand in scripture.

 
You have loved righteousness and hated wickedness; therefore God, your God has anointed you with the oil of gladness beyond your companions. Hebrews 1:9
Every Christian is commanded to be holy. The idea of holiness includes being set apart, belonging to God, hating what God hates and pursuing what God loves.
“Be ye holy as I am holy.” 
” Strive for holiness, without which no man shall see the Lord.” 
“Since we have these promises, beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from every defilement of body and spirit, bringing holiness to completion in the fear of God.” 

“Since therefore Christ suffered in the flesh, arm yourselves with the same way of thinking, for whoever has suffered in the flesh has ceased from sin…”

“Beloved, do not imitate evil but imitate good. Whoever does good is from God; whoever does evil has not seen God.”

“For God has not called us for impurity, but in holiness.”

Holiness is not some conjured up, pick yourself up by your bootstraps, try harder life. The desire for true holiness comes as we compare our lives to the perfect life of Christ. It starts when we get a glimpse of our filthy sin and then gaze on the beauty of His holiness, seeing Christ as He really is. It begins when we abide with him, rest in him and depend on Him. In short, when life is more about HIM and less about me. It is a grace that enables us to say NO to our fleshly desires to pursue what makes the heart of God happy.
 
Holiness keeps us from the bondage of sin. For whatever reason, we think that we can dabble with sin and not be effected. But when we embrace sin in any degree, we can not be embracing holiness.
Sin is always deceitful. It lulls you to sleep, promising you pleasure and freedom, when in fact it always entangles you.
 
My mom would always say:
Sin takes you farther than you planned to go, and keeps you longer than you planned to stay.
playing_with_fire
 
Think of sin as a fire. Or poison. Or a viper.  Not only do you not dabble in it, you stay away from it. You don’t let your kids light a little fire on the kitchen table, or hold a little viper in their bed, or drink a little poison at dinner time. You keep those things out of the house because they can harm you.  
 
The same is true of a little sin. Holding on to and cherishing sin separates us from communion with God–and others believers. Today, believers are deceived into thinking that sin doesn’t have consequences. In fact, we think we can pretty much do what I want–after all, I’m an American. I take my political liberties and mix them up with my spiritual liberties and end up believing that I am free to do as I please w/o consequence.
  • I can watch immorality as entertainment and not have it affect me.
  • I can listen to unwholesome talk and be okay.
  • I can be unloving to one person without consequence.
  • I can indulge in the flesh in food, drink, sleep or s*x and nobody’s going to get hurt.
  • I can nurse that grudge and hold on to unforgiveness without it effecting me spiritually.
  • I can chase worthless pursuits because God wants me to be happy.
If you’ve thought these things, sin has deceived you. If you are living these things, it’s totally entangled you. When God’s word says to flee certain things, like immorality, youthful lusts, wrath, hatred, envy, jealousies, evil communication…and we not only indulge in them but justify them, we are in serious trouble.
And we have to ask ourselves,
WHAT is the state of a believer who will not obey scripture? Are we not followers of Christ? Did He not tell us to be holy, as He is holy? WHY would we think that sinning is okay? Are we truly in Christ? Or are we a scoffer, posing as a believer when in fact our life shows that we have no desire to “do the will of the father.” Have you asked the hard question, “Why do you call me Lord, Lord, but do not the will of my father?” 
 
The world lies and says that sin is fun and fulfilling and freeing and sin may seem to be all these things for a short time. But in the end, sin brings death and separation from God. Sin dulls your sensibilities and renders you spiritually blind. You’ll lose your moral compass, believing that right is wrong and wrong is right. God’s word teaches that being set apart to God is a blessing and a holy life is what brings joy and freedom. A clean conscience before God and men should be the norm for every believer. 
 
When we are living lives according to scripture, not perfectly, but striving for holiness, we paint a more accurate picture of what Jesus looked like. We are called to this. Let’s not defame His name by claiming we are his, but living like we don’t care two cents about his will.