sandtorock
Jill's self talk
"Of all the things I want in life, the top priority is to gain a better knowledge of my Maker."
Holiness ... 1

The beauty of holiness

The age-old challenge we face on the path to knowing Christ, is learning to manage our attitudes toward separation from what is sinful, undesirable, and un-beneficial in life; and embracing that which is acceptable, worthwhile, and God-pleasing. It's the path we must follow to become a soul of great beauty. "Just as you used to offer yourselves as slaves to impurity and to ever-increasing wickedness, so now offer yourselves as slaves to righteousness leading to holiness." (Romans 6:19 NIV) We can describe the challenge in a number of different ways: if our focus and constant endeavor is to "stay close" to Christ; if we hunger and thirst for righteousness (doing what is right and good);  if we re-calibrate our lives towards the values that make us harmonious with God's Kingdom; and if we commit to doing the activities that align with our Christian faith and love; then without a shadow of doubt we will become more familiar with the beauty of holiness through a first-hand experience.
As Christians we take our cues from the Bible for values that guide our lives, but what makes Christian values so much different from those of the rest of the world. On the surface it may not appear that there is a significant difference, yet Jesus said those who believe in Him are the light of the world and the salt of the earth. Practically, this would mean that what we do, say, and think, clearly demonstrates to other people a different philosophy to life and a much better way to live. For Christians, sticking out like a "sore thumb" and being a "shining light", could more aptly be termed as being an example of a great moral leader.
Living in this way is properly achieved by the personal influence and empowerment of the Holy Spirit. For that which separates us from the world and makes us beautifully different from it is, in fact, what we know to be God’s own imparted nature of holiness. It's so important and such a privilege to be made holy; that it should be one of our highest aspirations, and sought by uncompromising commitment. If we underestimate the power of the Holy Spirit to make us holy, we will underestimate the power and intent of God.
Jill's self talk
"There is no hypocrisy in my convictions and my commitment to my faith. There is no hypocrisy in my understanding and obedience to my responsibilities in Christ."

We are meant to be different

The Biblical story is fascinating. From the beginning of the world, when time first began, God purposely created something of epic proportions, and man was at the center of it. God drew out an intricate plan to design a world full of wonder, life and vibrancy. He shaped and fashioned a place so filled with beauty and life, that even to this day there are still millions of locations throughout the earth that simply take our breath away. Natural beauty is out there: sparkling blue waters of the ocean and coastlines, the aquamarine reefs, teeming with life; soaring peaks of mountains, crowned with pristine white snow caps; lush green jungles, exploding with new growth, blossoms,fragrance and creatures. Then, 6000 years ago, God enhanced His marvelous works with His most unique creation of all … a man! He created Adam by shaping him out of the dust of the earth and blowing the breath of His life into him, and humanity was born in God’s image. No other created thing is as special to God like man is. No other created thing is as intelligent, creative and resourceful. The angels in Heaven looked in astonishment, asking “What is man for?” God’s purpose was to create a person who was just like Him, not just another creation, but something He could treat like family. He desired His sons to share His creation, learn from it, dominate it and harness it, while living in holiness.
When man became corrupted and sinful, and the world became cursed, man lost sight of God's presence, and many denied His existence. Certain of Adam's descendants were selected to be God’s chosen race, and from them one would be chosen to find a way out of the mess. God called His people to be different from other nations; by stipulating a unique set of rules governing their morality, diet, appearance, and customs. In this way, the Jews were set apart from other people, and commissioned to show their allegiance to their God. However, in New Testament times, we become liberated from these requirements and external rules. There is a new arrangement that sets us apart, based on a radical change of heart, and with it, different inner values. Concerning diet, for instance, Jesus explained that it’s not important what is allowed to go into the mouth; it’s what proceeds out of the mouth and from the heart that either defiles a person or defines a person. It's a new teaching, a new concept. Christians have been equipped with the power and love of the Holy Spirit to live a new way.
Ideally, our lives are to be so markedly sin-free that our very presence and conduct is a constant contrast to those around us, showing that there is something very deficient about them and that something unique is missing from their lives. As new-born children of God, we have something they need and they ought to have. It's not just a relationship with God, but the resulting impact of holiness. If we lack this impact, we need to evaluate our faith because Jesus also said that salt can lose its savor and become useless in its appointed task.
Our values set us apart because they are focused in the person and teaching of the Lord Jesus Christ. The world has a rule book on good behavior, and many unbelievers are quick to observe that some non-Christians live “cleaner” lives than the average Christian. The Bible mentions that there are some people who cultivate a form of godliness and clean living, but that they do so while lacking the power that leads to a truly godly life. Only God can give us a truly new heart. We who belong to God and have been saved by Christ, are called to live a life of power through the Holy Spirit that is conspicuously separate from the rest of the world. Believers know that everything about God is Holy: Himself, His word, His name, His ways, His dwelling places, and of course us, His people. It's because His Holy Spirit chooses to make an abode within our spirit. Our holiness is derived from an indwelling manifestation of God that influences us to be like God. His Spirit gives control back to us to defeat the sinful urges that plague us, and makes it possible to turn the world around for good, one person at a time.
There are principles and Christian values, which when properly understood and applied, have the unique ability to guide us away, and distinguish us from the rest of the world. The Bible predicts that this may even causing conflict between us and the world. But we provide the light that preserves societal standards by exposing sin, as well as inhibiting the “good living” masquerades as alternative philosophies that would try to exclude Christ.
For those who value the treasures of true faith, the Bible provides guidelines that are the means to our end goal, and it's a very serious undertaking. We perfect holiness by following the Christ who makes us holy. When we are not perfect, God’s grace allows us to be forgiven, repent and keep going. Christians who continue to live in sin are meant to be warned. Others like ministers of religion, who are not shining examples, who do not excel in holiness, who by their actions blaspheme the Holy Spirit, should likewise resign immediately, or be expelled.
Jill's self talk
"I aspire to have the fullest, deepest experience of God. I call on His power to cleanse me from all that is unholy and ungodly. I embrace all the essential Christian values and virtues that go hand in hand with holiness."
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