Isaiah 35:8: And a highway shall be there, and it shall be called the Way of Holiness; the unclean shall not pass over it. It shall belong to those who walk on the way; even if they are fools, they shall not go astray.
Holiness is the lifestyle geared towards pleasing God. But that isn’t the predisposition of men consequent on the corruption of sin. Paul exclaimed: who will deliver me from this body of sin (Matthew 6:13)!? That was a statement of frustration, of helplessness, almost of hopelessness. The answer: Jesus.
Jesus says he is the way (John 14:6). He is the way out of the bondage to sin (1John 3:8). He calls himself the door, through which we pass from the parched place of spiritual emptiness and drought to water and pasture, so have times of refreshing from the presence of God (Acts 3:19).
The Lord is my shepherd, David wrote, he leads me in the paths of righteousness for his name sake (Psalm 23). We will not find the path of righteous on our own, we need to be guided; we need to be shown the way by the righteous one.
The way of holiness is called the highway, it is the way of heaven. God said that our thoughts are not his thoughts and our ways are not his ways; his thoughts are higher than our thoughts and his ways higher than our ways (Isaiah 55:6-9). Our thoughts need to first align with his thoughts before our ways can align with his, in the way of holiness. This is because the way our thoughts go, is the way our lives go. The bible says: as he thinks in his heart, so he is (Proverbs 23:7).
When Adam and Eve entertained the right thoughts about God, retained the word of God, they continues in holiness, in pleasing God, but things started going wrong when Eve entertained contrary thoughts to the word of God. So the thought concerning the supremacy of God in her was pulled down, and she shifted from pleasing God to pleasing self (Genesis 3).
The way of God is the way of blessing. God called Abraham to leave his ways and thoughts, which were codified by his natural and social associations.
So God said he should leave his father’s house to move to a place where he will be shown. That gives the opportunity for God to isolate Abraham and introduce his thoughts into him, so that he can walk in his ways, as an example for the nation(s) he wanted to bring forth through him. Later on God told Abraham: walk before me and be perfect (Genesis 17:1).
So we cannot keep our old associations and seek to continue in the way of God. Corrupt association takes us away from the thoughts of God and therefore away from walking in his ways (1Corinthians 15:33). There can be no holiness without learning the ways of God. Truth is meant to empower us to walk in that way.
And the word of God is truth (John 17:17). It is light shining, showing us the right way we should go, helping us to avoid pits (Psalm 119:105). When the devil was tempting Jesus, he used the word of God to avoid the trap (Luke 4:1-12), but when the devil wanted to trap Eve. She dropped the word of God and became prey to the devil (Genesis 2:17-19; 3). The temptation of the devil is an attempt by us to get us off the highway of holiness, to bring us down so that he can mess with us as he messed with Eve when she fell into his temptation.
In another place, Jesus talked about prayer as a way to defeat temptation. He told the disciples that they should pray so that they will not fall into temptation because though the spirit is willing the flesh is weak. That means the influence of sin is beyond what the flesh, because of its inherent weakness, can handle, but when we pray, we engage the help of the Holy Spirit. In the prayer lines that Jesus taught, he said that we should pray that we be delivered from temptation (Matthew 6:9-13).
We should start thinking that holiness is a journey and not something static. Holiness is dynamic, and because we are constantly interacting with the world which has the potential to corrupt us, we need the regular experience of the washing of water by the word (Ephesians 5:22-33).
We need the word to fill our consciousness, to control our thinking process and that happens when we take the time to read the bible the first thing in the morning, before you do anything, get filled with the word. We should follow the injunction which says: bible before breakfast.
Holiness is primarily spiritual and not physical. Holiness is not defined by the shape of cloth, length of your skirt, the colour of lipstick. Paul talked about some people who have a form of godliness but deny the power thereof (2Timothy 3:5). They have a form, but there is a lack of life, they make much effort towards external conformity, though emptied of divine infusions.
For the Christian the call is to put off the old man with its ill manners and errant ways and put on the new man renewed in knowledge according to the one who created it, Christ (Ephesians 4:24).
There cannot be true holiness without knowledge, because it is not your own holiness or righteousness that is important to God, but the righteousness of Christ expressed through you. Therefore, your knowledge of him directly corresponds to the expression of holiness. If you do not know him you are not holy, no matter what you do or do not do because holiness starts with the life of God in us, it is a quality of God (1Peter 1:15-16) not just behaviour adjustment or an attempt at self-improvement.
There is no holiness apart from what Christ is working in us. Paul was clear when he said: in me there is nothing good (Romans 6:7-18).
When temptation came into the garden of Eden there was two options, to resist it or not, and there are repercussions: to go down or to go up respectively, to fall into temptation or to rise above it, the later which means we become elevated spiritually.
When the devil tempted Jesus in the wilderness it was an opportunity for victory or for defeat. When Jesus did not yield to the temptation of the devil, he gave everyone in him the ability to do the same, but when Adam yielded to the devil, he puts everyone who came through him to the world under the devil by no fault of theirs (Romans 5:12-21). And those who believe in Jesus come into victory over the devil, in the same vein, not by any effort of theirs.
- United we stand (thelivingmessage.com)
- In My Name (takeaminute.net)
- On praying for people (supertradmum-etheldredasplace.blogspot.com)
- Living in the Wrong Time (histruthwillsetyoufree.wordpress.com)
- The Army of the Resurrection (tithebarn.wordpress.com)
- Resources for a Series in the Book of Acts (cardiphonia.org)