walk in the word
“Ponder the path of your feet, and let all of your ways be established.” Proverbs 4:26
Have you ever drawn a line in the sand and said, “This is what I will do and this is what I won’t do. Between me and God—this is how I’m going to live”? Have you done that?
As we continue our study on the air of “No More Games: Living and Breathing the Holiness of God” we need to clarify one very important point—what does it means to be holy? The Bible describes holiness as being “set apart; separate.” Since there’s a lot of messed up teaching in the church today about this idea of holiness, we need to get it straight from God’s Word.
Let’s start with 2 Corinthians 6:15:“For we are the temple of the living God; just as God said, ‘I will dwell in them and walk among them and I will be their God, and they shall be my people. Therefore, come out from their midst and be separate,’ says the Lord.”
“Come out . . . and be separate.” The word actually means “to mark off a boundary.” Separation is holiness in action. “I don’t go there; I don’t look at that; I won’t tolerate that in my life. I belong to God. I’ve made a choice and by God’s grace I’m not going back.” Living a holy life begins with building convictions and living within those boundaries. The best time to make that lifestyle decision is before you’re in the heat of the moment, apart from the pressure of the choice.
So what are your convictions?
You may say, “Well, I’ll just let my conscience be my guide.” Hang on—if you say that, you may not understand what your conscience does. Your conscience can only turn on the alarm about convictions that you’ve already established. Some people hedge, “Well, I don’t see anything wrong with it. My conscience isn’t convicting me.” Of course it isn’t if you haven’t had your face in God’s Word, forming convictions about what you believe to be right and wrong. Your conscience only alerts you to the things you’ve already decided. Tragically, some followers of Christ live compromised, rationalized lives because they haven’t drawn boundaries.
Where teaching on holiness gets messed up is when it swings too far to the left or to the right. On one extreme, legalism makes rules above and beyond what Scripture teaches and then judges those who don’t conform. Call it hyper-law. On the other hand, license sets no boundaries at all. Hyper-freedom. Biblical Christianity says “be set apart to God.”
So, I’ll ask again—have you drawn the lines around your life? You cannot make righteous choices in the moment, every time. And you can’t live by other people’s boundaries. But if you haven’t established your own convictions based on God’s Word, you’re going to fail. You might do OK for a season, but if you don’t heed God’s call to come out and be separate, you’ll waffle right back into that old pattern of defeat and failure.
If you’re ready to break the cycle, start here. Say, “There are some things I’m not going to see, there some things I’m not going to hear, there are some things I’m not going to do because I belong to God. I’ve made a choice once and for all that I’m doing it God’s way.”
Maybe you’ve been struggling in a particular area of sin and you are experiencing defeat and discouragement. Do you wonder if you’ll ever get victory? Hear the tender, compassionate call of your loving Father who says, “Come out. Be done with that. Separate.” Maybe you’ve tolerated your rationalized behavior a long time and the Spirit of God needs to get your attention about some things you’ve been excusing. You love Christ but those things aren’t righteous. They don’t fit in your life. You need to hear the piercing word of the Holy Spirit saying, “Come out from that and be separate,” before you make that choice that you can’t reverse and reap a whirlwind of consequences.
I don’t know how the command could be any clearer, loved ones. God’s Word says to separate: come out. Do not touch what is unclean; don’t sit on the fence, don’t straddle the line, don’t be double minded. Instead heed God’s command: “Be holy as I am holy.” There’s joy and blessing and life in heeding God’s holy call on your life.
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