Building relationships amongst us is important; when we break them, we are in essence breaking or destroying life. In Ephesians 2:22 we see how we are built together to become a dwelling place in which God lives by His Spirit. However, to be a dwelling place for the Almighty requires that we be holy and worthy of His in-dwelling presence. In holiness we are set apart for God's special purpose and reason because He Himself declares He is holy in Leviticus 19:1. As such we too look for the kind of holiness that becomes part of our character. Holiness is a state of being that encompasses purity, uprightness and righteousness; it presents us before God. However, to know just how well we are doing in this, we must relate to people because we cannot talk of holiness in isolation.
Firstly, holiness is a call for all the people of God, none is exempt. It is a call for life today, tomorrow and always and as progressively as Paul points us when he says that it is something for which he presses on each and every day to win the prize for which God has called him-Philippians 3:13-14.
Secondly, it is rooted in the character of God. He expects us to be what He is. This is why in salvation we must let go of our old selves so that Christ may work in us to change us to be like him because only he can show us the face of God.
Thirdly, holiness before God is reflected in our communal relationships. It is only as we live and relate with others that our holiness will be reflected. This is also the only way that we can grow as Christians. This may be a challenging thing and we may be tempted to not deal with people if only to avoid sinning. Life has all types of people. Pastors may sometimes contend with congregants who that think that the pastors have no appetite when they do not eat in functions yet label them gluttons if they do. If they as much as ask for contributions towards projects they are deemed to be money lovers and when they don't they earn the title of being proud. When they visit the flock they may sometimes be considered idle yet when they do not, they may be construed as having no time for them. In view of this, it becomes difficult to please everyone all the time. The true taste of character thereby comes in being able to remain holy in the face of all these conflicting messages. In as much as it is hard to live with people, it is the only road to holiness.
There are certain implications therefore to character; firstly that we are to take a position for God because this is the only way we can show our commitment to holiness. People who never stand to be counted anywhere almost never take a stand for God; one compromise leads to another as they seek to either please themselves or others. In Acts 5:29, we see the apostles take a stand for God; to obey Him rather than man!
Secondly is to avoid sin to the extent of fleeing from it. Joseph could have compromised on his beliefs. In Genesis 38 we see how, at the age of 17years, Joseph chose to stand for God rather than sleep with Potiphar's wife. He could have opted to do it even once but he stood for his love and obedience of God. We are all vulnerable to all manner of temptations but if we stand firm, it will make the next time we have to flee easier.
Thirdly, is to keep the company of those who desire holiness. It would be foolhardy to surround yourself with people for whom good morals and holiness count for nothing.1Corinthians 15:33 tells us that bad company corrupts good character. The kind of company that we keep is very important. If we are standing on a table and talking down at others, then the likely hood of us falling is higher than our pulling them up to our level.
2Timothy 2:22 categorically asks us to align ourselves with those who call on the Lord out of a pure heart even as we flee from sin.
Our relationship with God should not be compromised or exchanged for anything. We might even convince ourselves that we will bring our non-believing partners to the Lord once we get married yet the bible in 2Corinthians 6:14 tells us that there can be no fellowship between light and darkness.
Lastly, let us pursue holiness with diligence because without it we will not see God-Hebrews 12:14. So much can distract us but we should remember the path of God and the communion with Christ. Holiness determines our destination, whether hell or heaven. If we are compromising on its standards, then we must repent our attitudes, prejudices, rudenesses, and our dislike for those who snore or those who are not of our skin color. Determine to be holy because it is a choice that you can make and live with. Like Daniel and Joseph, you can decide not to defile yourself and stand firm for God.
May these words (sermons), from various men and women of God be a blessing to all.
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