[God] has saved us and called us to a holy life. 2 Timothy 1:9
I hope you’ve had the chance to read at least some of the first three installments of this series on living a holy life. Maybe, though, these last two list items will be just the ones you need to read. God has a perfect track record for getting us where we need to be, when we need to be there.
In Part 3, I included a powerful quote about holiness from a sermon by the late Oswald Chambers, one of my favorite preachers of yore. During that same sermon he went on to say:
God…did not come to save us out of pity – He came to save us because He created us to be holy. Holiness is not simply what God gives me, but what God has given me that is being exhibited in my life.
So don’t get the idea that living a holy life is some sort of means of earning salvation – that ain’t happening. But once we come to faith in Jesus and accept the free gift of salvation God has so graciously offered, then the desire to meet His higher standards for us should come naturally due to being filled with His Holy Spirit. In other words, we can’t not want to be holy.
If you’re indifferent to that desire, then you may want to do some deep searching, kind of like a virus scan on your computer – and not the “Quick” scan but the “Full” one. Not that these 10 ways to live a holy life are definitive or on a par with inspired scripture, but you should find yourself doing or wanting to do some of them. If not – “Full” scan.
The first eight ways to live a holy life are:
- Go to Church
- Read the Good Book (and other good books)
- Be Honest
- Be a Giver
- Be Peculiar
- Watch What Goes Into Your Body Temple
- Watch What Comes Out of Your Body Temple
Just as we did for the first eight, for the final two we will use the only yardstick by which any of these ways to be holy should be measured: Jesus.
The Holiness Listicle (9-10)
9. Don’t Turn That Dial
I know a fine Christian individual – grew up in church, loves to dig deep into the Bible, supports all manner of ministry opportunities. Great sense of humor, loves to laugh – which leads to watching a few sitcoms on TV. In my best “speak the truth in love” voice, I pointed out that one of those sitcoms, while hysterically funny, presents a world view that’s the exact opposite of this person’s world view.
“You know,” I said, “all the characters on that show are sleeping with other characters they aren’t married to. One of them is an atheist and has spoken sacrilegiously about Jesus on several occasions.”
The response: “I know, but it’s just so funny and there isn’t much else on TV I like to watch.”
Apparently, turning off the TV and not watching that program wasn’t an option.
I don’t have a TV, so I can only go by the names of some of these, but with names like “Good Christian B-tches”, “Californication,” and “Dating Naked” I know all I need to know. Shows I used to watch, like “Glee,” “Modern Family,” and “Big Bang Theory,” may not have been as overtly offensive as the others, but they still present a world view that is anything but Christian.
I know there are some fine programs on TV – sports, news, arts, and DIY shows – but for every minute I sit aimlessly scrolling through the channels, I could be writing for this blog or reading my Bible or just getting alone with the Lord. And every dollar I spend on cable just to watch HGTV could be used to feed hungry children in my county, a much greater need than my being entertained by the Property Brothers.
As far as movies, although there are some fine Christian-themed ones that have come out lately (not Noah), thanks to the 21st century obsession with sharing every detail of one’s life through social media I know of Christian brothers and sisters who go to decidedly non-Christian-themed movies, some of which cause them to comment: “They used the ‘F’ word so much we almost got up and left.” (“Almost” – that only counts when playing horseshoes.)
We all have to (or should) listen to that still small voice inside us. And that voice has told me I’m not to go to movies with cursing or other things He doesn’t approve of and to totally do away with my TV. Why? Actually the owner of that still small voice doesn’t ever owe me an answer. “’Cause I’m God and I said so” would work just fine. However, venturing a guess, I suspect it would relate to what Paul told the folks at his church plant in Philippi:
Whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable – if anything is excellent or praiseworthy – think about such things. Philippians 4:8
And that doesn’t include sitting in front of the TV laughing at sacrilegious atheists who sleep with their neighbors across the hall.
Would Jesus watch “Big Bang Theory?” No, but He might enjoy watching a YouTube video of a cat wearing a shark suit while riding a Roomba and chasing a duck.
You don’t know.
10. Save it For Marriage
No one reading this needs a detailed dissertation on sex and sexual immorality in the 21st century. It’s up in your face just as much as it’s up in mine. Likewise, no one reading this can claim to be unaware if they happen to be dabbling (or drowning) in sexual immorality. If you are, you know it.
These Bible passages were all written to and about church members:
It is actually reported that there is sexual immorality among you, and of a kind that does not occur even among pagans…And you are proud! 1 Corinthians 5:1,2
Neither the sexually immoral…nor adulterers nor male prostitutes nor homosexual offenders…will inherit the kingdom of God. 1 Corinthians 6:9,10
Flee from sexual immorality. 1 Corinthians 6:18
(Those 1st Corinthians must have been a rowdy bunch.)
Sex is everywhere – it’s used to sell everything. Sexual innuendo is so prolific that we’re fast becoming immune to it and we’re so inundated with sexual imagery that it’s almost to the point of having to gouge our eyes out to avoid it. Jesus said that was actually a better choice than ending up in hell, but there are ways to be sexually undefiled and still keep your eyesight.
Regarding sexual immorality, the Bible is plain: JUST STOP IT. And while I can’t really quote many actual words from Jesus about sexual immorality, let’s use this as a benchmark: If you would be OK with Jesus sitting right outside knowing what you are doing right inside, then go for it. Otherwise…
JUST STOP IT
No sex outside of Biblical marriage – period. That should make the rest of these reasons unnecessary, but so many, including Christians, have begun to justify their proclivity to do some of these things with statements like: “We love each other; besides, we’re soul mates.” Jesus cares about your soul, not its mating practices.
And no living together before marriage. Pictures posted by one member of a romantic relationship of the other member still in bed asleep with the caption, “Look who was being a sleepyhead this morning” and photos showing “how nice the view was from our hotel room” scream trash. “Besides, we’re get married soon anyway.” I’m pretty sure Jesus doesn’t care how soon your wedding is.
Stop watching or reading porn. The statistics on porn usage among Christians are staggering. Men, it’s demeaning to women and is ruining marriages and destroying families. Would you want someone to watch your daughters or your sons doing what you’re watching someone else’s daughters and sons doing in those movies?
And women, that includes reading “50 Shades of Gray.” If a “Search inside this book” on Amazon.com turns up 17 hits for the word “orgasm” and 10 hits for descriptions of the 21-year-old female lead character being tied up – and not tied up as in “I’m busy” but as in sadistic bondage – then it’s porn.
Stop flirting with/messaging/sexting someone else if you’re married. Would you hand your phone password over to Jesus? Guess what – He already knows it.
Sex is beautiful, sex is amazing, sex is FUN, but only when it’s enjoyed by a husband and wife – you and your husband or your wife.
Otherwise… (Don’t make me say it again.)
I’m kinda glad this series is over – sometimes it felt a little harsh. I had much rather write about love and joy and blessing, but this is what the Lord laid on my heart.
I’m not sure what you believe about the end of this life as we know it, but I believe we’re getting close. It’s time to put up or shut up. It’s now or never.
Are you ready to see Jesus face-to-face? There may not be a second chance. I don’t want to meet the Lord jacked up on caffeine or in the middle of watching porn or doing anything that does not bring absolute glory and honor to Him. I want to hear, “Well done.” If you don’t really care – “Full” scan.
Don’t make these 10 list items into a check list or print yourself a holiness certificate once you’ve conquered them. They’re just for starters. However, they all boil down to one thing: make God first and most important in your life.
- Go to Church because God says to “not give up meeting together.” (Hebrews 10:25) The Church (capital “C”) is Jesus’ body, meant to travel through this life together.
- Read the Good Book because God says that we are to live “on every word that comes from the mouth of God.” (Matthew 4:4) Every word in it – whether penned by Isaiah or Malachi or Paul – is “God-breathed.”
- Pray because God says to do so “continually.” (1 Thessalonians 5:17) Who do we generally want to talk to when something good or bad happens? The person who’s most important to us.
- Be Honest because God hates “a false witness who pours out lies.” (Proverbs 6:19) Hates it. Period.
- Be a Giver because Jesus said that “whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me.” (Matthew 25:40) Give because God has given you everything.
- Be Peculiar because God said that we should “not conform any longer to the pattern of this world.” (Romans 12:2) If you’ve been called to salvation God has set you apart.
- Watch What Goes Into Your Body because God said His “temple is sacred, and you are that temple.” (I Corinthians 3:17) Don’t let your god be your stomach.
- Watch What Comes out of Your Body because God says “out of the overflow of the heart the mouth speaks.” (Matthew 12:34) It literally defines who you are.
- Turn That Dial because God said to “set your minds on things above, not on earthly things.” (Colossians 3:2) What we fill our minds with affects who we become: garbage in; garbage out.
- Save it for Marriage because “God will judge the adulterer and all the sexually immoral.” Is that few minutes of pleasure really worth it?
If you only remember one thing from this series, remember this: God said, “Be holy because I am holy.”
And He never said anything he didn’t mean.