Holiness Within

Follow peace with all men, and holiness, without which no man shall see the Lord
(Hebrews 12:14, KJV)

Unfortunately, too many Christians look for peace in the wrong places:

  • soul mates  
  • clubs/bars
  • drinking
  • smoking cigarettes
  • doing drugs (prescribed, marijuana, crack, cocaine)
  • social networking
  • shopping (strip malls, outlet malls, on-line malls)
  • meditation (chanting, certain forms of yoga, wearing ‘pious religious’ looking clothes or colors, lighting candles)
  • looking at pornography (movies, magazines, internet)
  • gambling (casinos, lottery, on-line poker, college and professional sports)
  • in other worldly forms of entertainment

 

Integrity is the quality or state of being of sound moral principle.  It is being upright, honest, and sincere. 


Some people are vegans who eat no animal products including eggs, milk, etc.  Let's say you have a friend who’s given you a whole list of reasons to become a vegan.  They criticize all their meat eating friends, and hound everyone on how much damage eating meat does to the body.  They brag on how long they've been a vegan.  Their new found health is the subject of most conversations.  Your ears become swollen like a river soaked dam. 


However, if different friends see them eating Big Macs on the opposite side of town from where they live and work, would you believe their claim of being a vegan?  First of all, they're eating at McDonald’s locations where they think none of their friends would see them. Secondly, they are deceiving themselves by believing that their eating habits won't show up someday, whether they are seen eating meat by anyone or not.  More importantly, is that that sneaky behavior transfers into other areas of life. 


Whether you believe it or not and whether people see you or not, God sees everything.  This behavior is deception rooted in the heart.  How many Christians live the same sort of life, pigging out on spiritually unhealthy TV shows, visiting soul damning places of entertainment, or partaking in social drinking

Christianity IS NOT Boring

Jesus came to give life and life more abundantly.  Those activities cause separation from Jesus which leads to death and destruction.   There are many forms of entertainment available to enjoy but still remain holy.  Many are free on certain days or discounted for thrifty visitors.  Many churches sponsor trips and transportation to various events proving that Christians can and do have fun in life. 


  • Museums
  • Zoos
  • Arboretums
  • Farms (berry picking, milking cows, horse riding)
  • Bowling
  • Organized sports leagues (soccer, football, basketball, gymnastics, tennis)
  • Board games
  • Water parks
  • Theme parks

Social Drinking

Have you ever seen stores with signs ‘Beer, Wine, and Spirits?’  What kind of ‘spirits’ do Christians think they will purchase from these stores.  It’s surely not the Holy Spirit.  How can the Holy Spirit guide us to walk in power, love and a sound mind described in 2 Timothy 1:7 when our mind is altered or blitzed from alcohol?  Yet a little glass of wine seems to be socially fine to take the ‘edge’ off from a rough day or to help relax.

 

… For with stammering lips and another tongue will he speak to this people.  To whom he said, This is the rest wherewith ye may cause the weary to rest; and this is the refreshing: yet they would not hear...

(Isaiah 28:9-13)

 

          Ok.  So God said He would actually speak to His people in tongues which would give them rest.  He said He would give words of comfort and encouragement.  His words would cause the weariest person to be at peace, refreshed, and renewed to face further challenges and battles.  However, the people of Isaiah's day did not hear His call and even today His people will not heed His warnings. 

         There are some church doctrines that do not believe in speaking in tongues.  That’s unfortunate because there is truly a difference in prayer when your spirit is praying and not the natural mind.  There is definitely a difference in praying in a physical, personal closet than experiencing praying in the throne room of heaven surrounded by the heavenly host.  There is a presence that will only be felt when the spirit is totally yielded to the spirit of God. 

         This gift from God is not scary, creepy or even similar to a drug induced hallucination.  There is honestly a difference in the spiritual atmosphere when praying in tongues.  Not praying in tongues will not keep you from being saved or out of heaven.   It will give you deeper rest, assurance, and peace (as promised in scripture) while living under the pressures daily life brings.  Tongues are a “gift” just like salvation, it is received by faith.  It is a real language that can be understood by someone of that native tongue when it is heard.  It is not bird or animal sounds but an actual language that can be interpreted. 

         It is wise to pray for understanding of your tongue even if you are not the one who gives an interpretation.  Tongues only edify, encourage, instruct or make sense if they are understood.  It is not impressive to speak in tongues, but it is helpful and needful to explain what the spirit of the Lord is saying to His people.  God is not a showboat.  He will give His people understanding and direction on what He wants them to know because obviously He wants to lead them in truth and righteousness.

Out of the Heart, the Mouth Speaks



Can you imagine people in heaven going around spreading lies about others? Trying to deceive Jesus that they should have gotten a better mansion than the Jones living on Heavenly Lane?  Being spiteful to get someone kicked out of their mansion because you don't feel like they deserve it?  Gossiping or backstabbing someone who spends a lot of time in the throne room of heaven loving on God?  Or hating someone for being chosen to sing in the heavenly choir over you?  That's really unimaginable.  So why do people think they can harbor that kind of selfishness in their mind and spirit?  They truly believe they are living a holy life and are the righteousness of God.


… For from within, out of the heart of men, proceed evil thoughts, adulteries, fornications, murders, thefts, covetousness, wickedness, deceit, lasciviousness, an evil eye, blasphemy, pride, foolishness: All these evil things come from within, and defile the man. 

(Mark 7:1-23)

 

Ever known anyone who won't eat meat on Friday's during Lent or refuse to eat certain food, but curse worse than sailors, commit adultery, beat their spouse, or get drunk on weekends, especially during football season, basketball season, and any other season?   Ever wonder how some terrorist groups won't eat pork, but will kill people (including innocent women and children) of differing opinions without a second thought?


Holiness must temper our responses.  It is not conditional that we love one another when we are feeling good, or when we are employed, or when your teenager is being cooperative.  The spirit of righteousness must still be present when the electricity is out in the house, when the car is repossessed, and when Ray Ray leaves you again.