Commitment to holiness

  lotus-150693_640Daniel 1:8: But Daniel purposed in his heart that he would not defile himself with the portion of the king’s meat, nor with the wine which he drank: therefore he requested of the prince of the eunuchs that he might not defile himself.

It’s really up to you to live the holy life. It’s not about the circumstances. What worse circumstance could you have than being told to bow to an idol and if you refuse, get thrown into the furnace of fire (Daniel 3)?  What higher stake could there be than when the wife of your master ask you to sleep with her and because you (Joseph) refused she lied against you and you were thrown into jail in a foreign land, away from your own people (Genesis 39)?

This piece discusses 7 things that reinforce holiness, the absence of which will make holiness to unravel. These are 7 dimensions of commitment to holiness.

Holiness and determination

Just as Daniel purposed that he would have nothing to do with the defiling foods of Babylon meant for them, so we should determine that we’ll rather die than not please God (Daniel 1).

Our lives should not be more important to us that we seek to protect it at the risk of displeasing God. Jesus said that the one who saves his life will lose it while the one who loses his life for Jesus’ sake will have it (Matthew 10:39).

Daniel said to himself: “No matter what, I won’t eat the defiling meats. I have more respect for God that I do not see than for mere men that I can see.”

Jesus said that we should not fear men who can only kill the body and not the soul but we should fear the one who can destroy both body and soul in hell (Matthew 10:28).

Holiness and the will of God

Jesus exhibited commitment to holiness in his life. He did not lie. He told the Pharisees that if he says that he does not know God then he will be a liar like them (John 8:55). His holiness was beyond what not to do; it also encompasses what he does in the will of God.

He said that the father has committed all judgment to His hands and He (Jesus) does not follow his own will but the will of the father (John 5:19-30, 6:38). To live constantly in a dynamics of relationship with God is the real meaning of the holiness. And Jesus exhibited it. It has nothing to do with physical appearances. It has everything to do with the pursuit of the will of God. Peter wrote that we should be holy as our heavenly father is holy (1Peter 1:15-16). It means we should be in alignment with him, separated to him, not in a state of inertia, but executing his will in real time on this earth. That is holiness in relation to the will of God. It is active holiness.

Holiness and truth

Jesus told the Samaritan woman that those who worship God must worship him in spirit and in truth (John 4:21-24). That means any form of relationship we want to have with God must based on the reality of His Spirit and his truth.

Therefore, holiness is expressed in a commitment to truth. You cannot abandon the truth that you know and be chasing shadows and claim to be holy. We can have something that looks like piety according to human definition but it is not the holiness of God if it jettisoned the truth of God in the canonical scriptures, the 66 books of it, and unveiled in Jesus Christ.

We should take our time to concentrate truth about the righteousness of God in ourselves. That was why God told Joshua that the key to success is meditation on His word at all times (Joshua 1:8). When he concentrates truth in himself, then he will continue to have a commitment to holiness and God will continue to commit Himself to him, making success inevitable.

Holiness and choices

When Daniel decided he will not defile himself, he made further choices which reinforced that decision. He spoke with the man in charge of the food, letting him know about his preferences. Like Daniel you need to speak up about your holiness choices. You cannot afford to go with the flow.

The bible says that we should not follow the multitude to do evil (Exodus 23:2). You have to be very clear about where you stand. Moses would not allow the people to sit on the fence when he was confronting the sin of idolatry in the children of Israel. He asked: who is on the Lord’s side, and the house of Levi separated themselves from the rest of the people (Exodus 32:26). You need to be ready to separate yourself from the defilement of the people around you. For example, you cannot pattern your speech like theirs.

In the time we are in, there is no allowance for hiding your commitment to holiness. Opportunities will continually be presented for you to show people where you stand on the path of truth.

Paul told Timothy to flee from youthful lusts (2Timothy 2:22). He didn’t say try to manage it. He said flee from it.  Have a policy of avoidance when it comes to anything that has the potential to stir up lust in the heart, you physically remove it from yourself or yourself from it. It is not expected that lust overwhelm you, you are to make choices that will put a distance between you and it.

Holiness and love

Holiness is a step in the direction of God; it is a reflection of the love of God, it is a pull of the love of God in our heart (1John 2:15-17). It is not something impossible; it is the resonance of hearts that love God reflected in the lives that we live (Romans 5:5).

Holiness and the presence of God

Holiness is as impossible as we draw away from God; it is as possible as we draw near him (James 4:8). God says that if we draw near him, he will draw near us. So a commitment to holiness is the commitment to the presence of God. It is the recognition that the only light that shines in you is that of God.

With the illustration of himself as the vine and us as the branches, Jesus made it known that our very lives depend on our being attached to him (John 15:1-16). Whatever we see as true holiness in our lives is merely his expressions in us. So there can be no graduation from depending on him.

Holiness and having no fear

The commitment of Daniel to holiness in not defiling himself is a no-apologies kind of holiness. It’s the not-afraid-to-be-the-odd-one-out holiness; it’s the not-afraid-to-be-persecuted kind of holiness. It’s the anywhere-anytime kind of holiness; the kind of holiness that is not about a conducive environment.

For Daniel, there can be no pressure strong enough from outside of himself to make him capitulate to defilement (Daniel 6), because he have a serious concentration of commitment on his inside.

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