Be Ye Holy
1Peter 1:14-16 As obedient children, not fashioning yourselves according to the former lusts in your ignorance: But as he which hath called you is holy, so be ye holy in all manner of conversation; Because it is written, Be ye holy; for I am holy.
I have always been intrigued with how folks interpret this scripture. Everyone seems to want to be holy and their way of accomplishing that is as different as the east is from the west. That difference usually ranges from how one dresses to a long list of do’s and don’ts.
The fact is, one should dress decently and there is nothing wrong with a list of do’s and don’ts, but those things alone do not make one holy.
As we have discussed in previous writings, the word holy simply means nothing added. In other words, God does not like mixture. This is way He said, do not plant wheat and barley in the same field or sew new cloth on to the old. There is nothing wrong with wheat or barley or new cloth and old cloth. Each of them is pure within themselves but when you mix them, they are no long holy or pure … there is mixture.
In other words, do not resurrect and mix your old unredeemed Adamic nature with your redeemed thinking (or mind of Christ). Perhaps that is what Paul meant when he said, “I die daily”. Otherwise, mixture for the believer may be easier than one thinks.
Maturing in the spirit is a process the same way that maturing in the natural is a process. This process could be what Paul was thinking when he wrote in Romans 7:15,” For I do not understand my own actions. For I do not do what I want, but I do the very thing I hate”. I think what Paul was trying to say … as life is a journey, so is maturing and holy discipline because they run on the same track.
The first scripture that I ever learned was Romans 12:1 where it says, “I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service.
Because I felt like the Lord gave me this scripture to live by, I always wanted to be holy. I began living an extremely disciplined life … but I did not feel holy. I guarded my mind and thoughts … but I still did not feel holy. I tried everything I could think of but in the end, I discovered that “my righteousness was as filthy rags”.
I began looking for a person who I thought might fit the bill of holy … so I could emulate them. The person I settled on was a little old East Texas woman who was lovingly known as Ma. Ma was poor and lived in what she referred to as her shack. She loved to go barefooted and wear sack dresses unless she was going to town and then she would put on her hat some shoes and her false teeth.
People would come from all around so Ma could pray for them. She was respected by the bankers, politicians and every other important person in the area.
As I studied Ma’s life, I came to the conclusion that holy had nothing to do with my good works. When Jesus said, “be ye holy for I am holy”. the Apostle Paul tells us what that means. He said, ”I die daily”. In other words, the more I die, the more that Jesus is ruling my life and thus I become holy because He is holy.
Ma had learned to live life as a dead person and that is why I saw her as the most holy person I knew. I try to live life the same way.
You would not have asked us to do anything that You had not already made a way for us to do. Thank you Lord for teaching me through Ma that holy has nothing to do with my sacrifice … but Yours. You said, “seek and ye shall find”, I sought and I discovered that the old man must die daily.
The Unfinished Church
(Act 2:47) Praising God, and having favor with all the people. And the Lord added to the church daily such as should be saved.
If the Lord is adding to the church daily it is because the church is not finished. As a matter of fact, the church will not be finished until Jesus returns for His bride. Our text simply shows the progression of the church and not it’s conclusion. The reason the church is not finished is because folks are still being born again and added to it daily.
The same thing is true with each of us, we are also unfinished works. Our spiritual growth develops the same way that the early church was developed, and that is though the “testing of our faith” (James 1:3). Testing is never fun, but there doesn’t seem to be any other way of maturing us apart from testing. The fact is, one never stops growing, changing or being tested no matter what their age. According to Ephesians 4:12, our being tested is “perfecting us for the work of the ministry”
San Antonio is blessed to still have some of the old Spanish missions that were built back in the early seventeen hundreds. I went by one recently and noticed that its construction had been started but never finished. Work on the old mission had started and stopped over a fourteen-year period of time and then finally stopped altogether.
The thing that sadden me most, was them giving up their vision when they were so close to finishing it. The rock walls were very strong and thick and would have been able to withstand any invasion. However, the construction was stopped just prior to the roof going on … and with that a great vision was abandoned. They turned what was to be their sanctuary into a graveyard that lasted for the next two hundred and fifty years until it was excavated, and the bones removed to another grave site. Abandoning a great vision like this was very sad to me.
No high school graduating class plans to fail in life … they are sure their ideas will make the world better, their politics will unite the country, their science, business, and inventions will be a pattern for future generation to follow.
However, things don’t always turn out the way young minds plan. In far too many cases their visions begin to die soon after graduation. Some lost their lives, some took their lives, many are divorced, others spent their life just barely getting by. But thank God there are others who never lost their vision and completed it in style.
My encouragement is for those who reads this meditation to go back and pick up those unfulfilled visions and prophetic words that are on the shelves and complete them. Don’t be like the Spanish missionary who stopped his work just prior to putting on the roof. Don’t allow your vision to end up being nothing more than a graveyard, or another unfinished church.
Help us to be completers and not stoppers. Help our stickability to be something to be emulated. Help us to be an encourager to others who are prone to lose hope and grow weary in well doing. We want to be known as a completer just like our Father in heaven.