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.

“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.
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.

9 thoughts on “Today’s Christian Woman: Distinctly Unholy?”

  • Yesterday I was listening to a talk Darrell Johnson gave years ago where he said that being holy as God is holy is possible not because we follow a list of holy rules and regulations but because there is a holy Presence who dwells within us, God the Holy Spirit. And another pastor I’ve learned from, Jeremy White, points out that it is this indwelling of the Holy Spirit which leads us to be so uncomfortable with sin (much in the way that Hebrews 1:9 says it as you quote above).


    • Yes, the Holy Spirit indwelling us makes us even aware of our need to change, urges us to desire said change, then gives us the power (the same power that raised Jesus Christ from the dead, by the way, via Ephesians) to do what God has told us. Thankful this is the case, and whenever my conscience is pricked by some sin in my heart, I am thankful that the Holy Spirit is still working w/in me to show me the error of following my own way. 🙂

  • I think only when we realize what a sinner we are can we see what a Saviour He is! When we see that, then that can be our motivation to holiness.

  • I think you are right sin lulls you, it lulls you to a place where you cannot recognize the sinfulness of judgement. Specifically here, judgement of the theological practices of others. We will never know until judgement day who has walked the faith path intended by Christ. Until then it is our responsibility to love one another and hold each other up regardless of our Christian faith journey. Open your heart and mind to all who share a desire to walk with Christ.

    • Leslie, we disagree here. Where Christ is “exclusive” we cannot be “accepting.” He has an opinion and has given us His word to follow. All paths cannot be right and the Bible does give us clear instruction for living. Upholding that truth does not make one judgmental.This blog is written for Christian women who self evaluate and want to follow Christ according to the scripture.

  • This is one of the most Spirit-filled readings I’ve had in a long time (Bible set aside, of course!). Praise the Lord for this great reminder of our call to holiness!

  • Sarah, you’ve hit the nail on the head here! All these self-help books are are not helping. I was at a conference this weekend where Kay Arthur said that we women think we need a devotional book to find God, but all we really need is to open His Word that He wrote directly to us. And there’s the key to holiness – knowing Him through His word. Thanks for sharing today!

    • Jenni, that is such a great point. We feel we need to find that one thing and then we’ll be okay and on the right path. What we need is to put aside worthless things and dig into God’s word in order to change. Many times we “know” the right things to do and we’re content with that. But, knowing right and doing right are two entirely different things. Thanks for visiting, friend! 🙂

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